1. RyanBushell
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    RyanBushell New Member

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    Naming characters that allude to their personality

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by RyanBushell, Feb 9, 2012.

    Do you guys think this is a little cheesy or something well worth exploring?
     
  2. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Depends what you mean by 'alluding to' - if it's just in the Dickensian sense of names reflecting a certain mood, like Bumblechook (busy, bumbling jolly character) then it can be quite subtle and work nicely. If it's completely blatant then it would seem a bit too contrived, like 'Felicity Sprightly' for a really happy, lucky character, lol.
     
  3. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or if you use Cain as the name of a character who commits fratricide. So no. No, avoid this sort of thing. It's tacky. Unless you're writing a children's tv series, in which case you are tacky. :p
     
  4. RyanBushell
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    RyanBushell New Member

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    Well I'm currently working on a sci-fi and I was going to go with 'Vexa' as an alien character whom is easily annoyed/worried. I thought it was OK but then again I don't want my work coming across as corny. Just wanted to gauge opinion.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    ... "Vexa" is a cool enough name (why do people always make aliens capable of human sounds? Seriously, why?) on its own. For the reason you've put forth, it's tacky. For the name as a standalone title, it's okay. So it's not that bad.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I realize that the rules in sci fi are somewhat different, but the last character I came across with such an obvious name in terms of her personality was Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's". You can be much more subtle by choosing character names based on the underlying meaning of those names. Or, you can choose a first and last name that create contrasting images as a way to show that the character has opposing character traits (but which don't try to hint at the specific traits). Like Heather Wolfe in "Starting Out in the Evening".
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree with cruci on your reason for naming your characters thusly... 'twould be tacky t'the max, imo, unless you're writing a send-up of the sci-fi genre akin to mel brooks' wondiferously wacky 'spaceballs'...
     
  8. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    I like what he says about having human sounds. One thing you could maybe do is, if you would like to implement a foreign language your alien speaks ergo a completely different and maybe hard to pronounce name in human tongue, have a friendly character nick name them based on their personality that way they do have their own stand alone name but also have a name hinting at their personality.
     
  9. JPGriffin
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    JPGriffin Senior Member

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    To cruciFICTION: You'd be surprised at WHAT they'd put on TV nowadays. I hold respect for a lot of shows and films, one of your personal favorites included, but most of it is... well, garbage. Tacky, no. Just too lazy to write well.

    As for the name, I always cringe when I see a name that's not a name. A father named Dirk, his son named Blade, and another character with the last name Bedlam? Please... But that's fantasy talk. Alien names are a whole different matter. Either you have the completely unnatural names that can barely be pronounced in a human tongue, or you have a name that's completely descriptive and gives away the character basically as soon as it's said. What you have is a name that's closer to the latter. It's not bad at all, but the trait seems too prominent. See if there's a lesser-known word that does the same job, something more outlandish, and try it out. It's often the foreign names that do the trick well.

    ...Dirk, please. Who names their son after a weapon?
     
  10. RyanBushell
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    RyanBushell New Member

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    This is exactly what I was thinking
     
  11. RyanBushell
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    RyanBushell New Member

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    I love this idea, I can see my entire plot in a new light. Thanks very much!!

    EDIT# My editor (Mrs) shot this one down! Back to a serious style. :(
     
  12. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dirk Benedict, actor
    Dirk Bogarde, actor
    Dirk Nowitzki, German professional basketball player
    Dirk Kempthorne, senator for Idaho, governor of Idaho, and Secretary of the Interior under President George W. Bush

    :D
     
  13. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    It took me a moment to figure out what my "personal favourite" was, and I say ha! HA TO YOU! I don't watch it on TV. I watch it on YouTube. *high and mighty*

    And you think Dirk is bad? Look at shadowwalker's post above, and then look at the Australian film (adapted from a novel) called Looking for Alibrandi. The love interest (a guy, btw) is played by a good-lookin' fella (I'm straight) by the name of Kick Gurry.

    HIS FIRST NAME IS WHAT I WANT TO DO TO HIM. >=C It's almost annoying, but at the same time, it'd be a really cool action hero name.

    "What's your name, you bastard!?"
    *Roundhouse kick.* "... Kick."
     
  14. RyanBushell
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    Oscar means spear I think (plenty of examples there).
     
  15. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, just pointing out that "Dirk" isn't really that odd. Now, Blade and Kick - yeah, those are pretty out there unless it's satirical.
     
  16. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's a fair few "Blades" around, actually. Here in Australia, I mean. I know of at least three who are friends of friends. They're massive douchebags, though, and I mean that in no uncertain terms.
     
  17. JPGriffin
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    I don't even know how to respond to this. And I thought blade was bad.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I find it as cheesy as canned cheese putty. Not even tasty cheese, just sticky and artificial. Even in humorous writing, it's kind of a "Hey stupid!" smack to the reader's head.

    It used to be popular, but it has largely fallen out of favor, outside of soft and hard core porn.
     
  19. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Coggy, you are SO cynical. I mean, what's wrong with a slipping in the odd character called 'Biff Hugecock' or 'Randy Muffmunch'? :D
     
  20. Discordant
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    Discordant New Member

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    J.K. Rowling did a pretty good job of relating character names to personalities, jobs, roles, etc.
    Severus Snape
    Draco Malfoy
    Horace Slughorn
    Pomona Sprout
    Millicent Bulstrode
    Sirius Black
    Remus Lupin
    Mundungus Fletcher
    Narcissa Malfoy
    Dolores Umbridge
    Fleur Delacour
    Olympe Maxime
    Peeves
    Etc.

    I always found it clever and very fitting for the world she had created. It obviously wouldn't work in every setting, though.
     
  21. Chad J Sanderson
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    Chad J Sanderson Member

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    Great examples. Harry Potter was a fun goofy book and the characters have fun goofy names. I think what you want to do has the possibility of being pretty cool. It all depends on your execution. I would recommend that you not settle for the first names that come to mind and instead work to make them unique.

    In my opinion, Vexa sounds a little corny.
     
  22. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    Eh. I have a character named Patience who's not patient at all. It's not like I named her and was like "Oh, I'll make it to where she's not patient!" She just has never been patient, and I just happened to like the name, haha. Ofc that's the opposite of what you're asking. I named her something she's not.

    & I think whether you should or shouldn't do it depends on the reader and writer. Personally, when I caught on I'd be like, "Oh, how neat!" Things like that just entertain me sometimes. Some people might not be impressed at all and just move on in the story, so don't waste TOO much energy on it, but have fun with it. :)
     
  23. Devlin Blake
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    Unless you're writing parody or children's books, I would avoid these kinds of names. Dickens could get away with it because back then, it was fresh. Today, it's overdone. Harry Potter got away with it because it is a children's book. TV gets away with it because TV watchers expect less from TV. They want to 'zone out' and not think too hard. That's the opposite of a book. Readers want to use their imagination to escape into your world. If you spell everything out for them like that, you're stealing their fun.

    I did want to add that a nickname like that might work for single character; here's why; it's not the alien's real name. The real name is something unpronounceable. So the humans give her this name based on her traits, personality or appearance. This is something that humans would do.

    Love that. It's like when you call a big guy "Tiny" That works well with nicknames.
     
  24. DromedaryLights
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    DromedaryLights Active Member

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    There's a word for these kinds of names: Aptronyms. They are deeply silly. Good for children's books but probably best avoided otherwise, unless it's so subtle that most people won't even notice.
     
  25. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    I recently read a Trilogy littered with truly, stupid names....King Shrewd & King Wisdom anyone? Despite the fact the books were otherwise interesting my encountering of these stupid names was Oh for fuck sake!
     

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