1. lettuchi
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    lettuchi Member

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    Naming Conventions

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by lettuchi, May 9, 2012.

    So, often times in anime there are these naming conventions where all the names of the characters have a central theme. In Dragon Ball Z, for example, it was vegetables. I can't think of any other examples off the top of my head...oh, Marron and Chocolate and such in Bakaretsu Hunters.

    Have you done that in your work? Do you feel that it has a place in writing or it's just cheesy?
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Well, it might be 'fun' to place in your writing...
    But it doesn't have much effect on the reader. Unless they end up searching for all the names and finding the connection...
    Which I highly doubt most will do lol.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Cheesy. Definitely cheesy. But I like a good Stilton or cave-aged Gruyere.
     
  4. Winzett
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    Winzett Member

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    Hehe, vegetables... never knew that.

    I personally don't find it cheesy if it's done in a good way and I probably would prefer it compared to plain names such as John, Paul, etc... It adds a bit of humour, which is nice.

    You can also give your character a name which has something to do with him/her. I have a character named Mr. Glatze which (according to google translate) means bald-head in German because (surprise!) he is bald ^^
     
  5. Lazy
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    Lazy Banned

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    If, for example, you are writing a fantasy story with an entirely new race and/or culture, it would make sense that their names would follow some kind of pattern. For instance, in A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin there is a culture of warrior horsemen with names like Drogo, Mago, and Qotho. Then you have another group of people with more "normal" names like Robert, Joffrey, Catelyn, Jon, etc.
     
  6. aimeekath
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    aimeekath Senior Member

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    In Tokyo Mew Mew, all of the characters were named after food. However, the words were different languages which made it more fun. In Harry Potter, Voldemort is French for 'flight of death', which is pretty cool, though not obvious to everybody.

    I've never tried replacing English names of people and things in anything I've written, but I would be interesting to find the Latin and use that. So I would consider it, yeah.
     
  7. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    At first I thought "haha, cheesy!"

    Then I remembered I have written a fantasy story were all the names are based on the latin names of different types of rocks and plants, and their surnames are based on minerals...
     
  8. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    3 of my female slave characters have significant names - one's name means 'ebony' in ancient Egyptian, because, not very surprisingly, she has long black hair. Another one's name means 'kitten', and another means 'she belongs to me'. The ancient Egyptians used to attach a lot of significance to names though, and sometimes substituted birth names for nicknames, particularly slaves who would often be renamed when they were bought by a new master. I make a little point of explaining how these characters got their names, and I think it does help with their characterisation - it also says something about the person who named them, I think.

    So, if it works in the context of your novel I don't see anything wrong with it, particularly if your novel is set in another culture where this kind of thing is common.
     
  9. jg22
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    jg22 Member

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    All of the characters in my story have names which end with 'a'- this was a sheer coincidence at first but once I noticed it I decided to keep it as a rule (I also extended this to all the cities/towns/villages). All of the names are also sanskrit names or words which denote something about the character, either physically or mentally. My main character, for example, has a name which means 'lover of truth' or alternatively 'true love' (Satyakama), corresponding to his alternative desires for an emotional relationship with another character and his pursuit for wisdom. All of my character names also derive from pre-existing personalities found in Hindu literature. This is just a bit of an 'easter-egg' really, an extra level of gloss or detail which rewards an observant reader, it's not really relevant to the whole, however.
     
  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sailor Moon! Each character's surname corresponded with the planet they're affiliated with. The main character, Usagi, is the "moon princess" and her name "Usagi" actually means rabbit. Now if you didn't know, in Japan and also Hong Kong, there's a myth that rabbits live on the moon and that's where they make new year cake :) So, Usagi "rabbit" with the surname "Moon" who's also the "moon princess".... you get the gist XD

    And yes, cheesy :D but I think if you do it right, it could be kinda cool. Not sure how you'd do it right, mind you, maybe if you have a very good reason for such naming conventions?
     
  11. bakalove
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    bakalove Member

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    In my book Everyone is named after there village so if the village starts with an A the people will be named with a name starting with A.
     
  12. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    In children's books like Harry Potter, I think it's fun. In adult books, you have to start getting more creative. I personally don't mind too much if names have some sort of meaning but only if it's actually an appropriate name and it's not being forced for the sake of lazy character development.
     
  13. lettuchi
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    lettuchi Member

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    Yes, I totally forgot about Sailor Moon! Another great example. I think sci-fi makes it a little easier because you can play the culture card, but in a novel set in current day suburbia it'll be really silly...
     
  14. sunwave
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    It really depends on the mood you want to set for story, the kind of audience, the kind of medium and also the way you handle it. There are probably even more factors.
    Me? I use color naming a lot. Because of a certain thing in my fantasy world, every single human gets a (random) color attached to them during birth. In some regions, these are used for naming. In other regions, they don't care about the colors at all. I could have given my characters names like "Blue, Red, Green" and stuff, but doing that would have been a bit strange in a... *ahum*... serious fantasy story. See the list below for a few examples of what I really did. (Actually, I use Wikipedia for some of the color names XD).

    - Amber (amber = dark orange/brown)
    - Russet (russet = darker version of amber)
    - Ash (ash grey = very dark grey)
    - Grey (... grey XD)
    - Chamis (chamoisee = beige-like)

    I think the Hunger Games has names from District 1 such as "glimmer", "cashmere", "gloss" and "marvel".
     
  15. MissRis
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    I usually pick a trait from my character and look up meanings. I have a character who is like a beach goddess -- appearance of a surfer chick -- blonde hair, bronzed skin. So I based her name off of "light." One of the male interests I based on being "cold" and found a name for him. My main character I just picked up because I like it and has an easy nickname -- it sounded like it could potentially supernatural, but not enough to be strange. The elders in my story all have names that are derivatives from ancient Greece -- but that's because I'm using Greek/Roman mythology (No I'm not using Zeus or Aphrodite or anything ridiculous).
     
  16. shaylyn
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    This thread interested me so I looked up my MC's name out of curiosity and it means "Hero". Sounds fitting enough for me :)
     
  17. BlizzardHarlequin
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    BlizzardHarlequin Senior Member

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    Even if its quite cheesy, it IS fun to try and find name pairings and such that just gel so well together. :p

    One of the people in one of my comics.. his name is Colonel Gran Rosta, which means Popcorn in Irish.. (Kernel Popcorn.. geddit. xD)
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Okay, that's corny.
     

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