1. awhipps
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    awhipps New Member

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    Naming in General

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by awhipps, Jan 29, 2012.

    Now, I tend to find the process of creating character names and persona's incredibly difficult! See, the thing is, I tend to find it incredibly difficult to come up with both the first and the last names without having a persona built, but struggle to build a persona without a name, and then i struggle to build further on the story without a name and/or a persona
    I was just hoping you could give me some tips on successful 'namification' yeah, i made that up :D

    Thanks :D
     
  2. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    I usually create the character first and decide what he or she will be like before I think of a name.

    If the character is intelligent or distinguished I give them a fancy sounding name. If they're average and "normal" I give them a common name.
     
  3. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    I just pick names I like, or ones I see at random from a newspaper or whatever, as long as it broadly fits with the character's nationality and social class. But then I really don't like it when names suit a character's personality, so it's simple for me :).
     
  4. MegTheLedge
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    MegTheLedge Member

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    I pick semi unusual names. That's my entire method of operation. Every once in a while, I'll pick a normal name because the character need not all the attention that my cooler named characters do.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know what to say. I've never found it to be a blocking issue.

    For human names, I use a range of sources. One of my favorites is the final credits of movies, which gives me a huge range of names. If the names arent't from contemporareu human society, then I create variations on names.

    For non-humans, I usually have a sense of what their language sounds like, based on overall characteristics. Insectoids, for example, may tend toward hard consonants, with few vowels and lots of clicks and hisses.
     
  6. Blueflare
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    Blueflare Member

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    Human names are pretty easy - I just think about their background, class, etc, and then try and pick a name that sounds like it suits them.

    Non-humans are much harder. I start by thinking of something that suits them and then try and work out what sort of names their society has as a whole and try and pick similar names for other members of that species... which can be very tricky! It's hard to get people to have names that make them sound like they're from the same planet without making them just excessively similar.
     
  7. Superevil225
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    Superevil225 Member

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    I read a lot of fantasy, sci-fi and bizarre comic books and manga. When I see a name I like, I write it on a piece of paper and put it in this special jar I have for later use. When I need a name, I draw from the jar. If it doesn't really fit my character I either draw from the jar again, or go onto a baby name site. The coolest names I have come across so far:
    Jethro Cane
    Han Solo
    Mycroft Holmes
    ............. Don't judge me..... XD
     
  8. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    I don't think naming should be a huge deal. What parent knows their child's characteristics before they name them? I don't know if my Gabrielle will truly be angelic as an adult or if she will be an irritating human bent on being cruel to those around her. I hope for the former. I raise her in hopes that she will become that, but ultimately, who she is as an adult is who she will be and her name has little to do with that effect.

    That being said, my current WIP is difficult to name b/c I am not familiar with the language of my setting. I know a few phrases, but finding names that fit that sound has been difficult. I put myself in the position of the character's parents. What were they like? How would they name their children? I go from there.
     
  9. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just wait for a name to come to mind. It's not unheard of for me to use a ridiculous placeholder (usually food-related) in the meantime. I'm not fond of especially unique names - so my characters can go nameless for a month just to end up being called something that appeared in the top ten baby names twenty years ago.
     
  10. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    Umm I suggest using a phone book.
    If its really hard. Open it to a random page, put it against a wall, close your eyes then throw a dart. Its practically fool proof. When I was in high school that’s how I decided the colors for prom.
     
  11. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    Like the phone book idea. I've done it once or twice. It works wonders.
    As for sci-fi and fantasy, there are name generators online for elves, dwarves, and just about any race you can think of. (Gamers use them a lot). Go for that, change a vowel or two, you've got a name.
    For human names, look for baby name sites. Most will give you backgrounds on the name (where the name comes from, what it means, etc.)
     
  12. TheIllustratedMan
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    TheIllustratedMan Active Member

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    My characters tend to kind of name themselves. For instance, in the draft I'm currently working on the main character was originally called Paul, but I kept thinking of him as Greg, so that's his name now.

    Of course, my characters seldom have last names. I suppose because in life I don't know the last names of most of the people whose first names I know. :D
     
  13. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    John. Sally. Ted. Paul. Hanna. Doesn't matter too much as it's not of utmost importance to the reader anyway. He/she won't likely take an issue with it unless it's something very obnoxious.

    I know people who've migrated to the States, mostly from Vietnam, and their name choosing techniques are simple. They use the phone book or choose a name from pop culture. I know one guy called himself Tom after Tom and Jerry; another called himself Glen because he found it in a phone book. They don't spend days or weeks agonizing over finding a name that fits their personality just right. They just need something to go by.
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suspect that you're putting too much importance into the name. It's not as if a name must, or even should, have any deep symbolism. A name doesn't determine your personality - you'd be essentially the same person even if you had a totally different name. And it's not determined by your personality, because you don't have much of one when you're named. Kids are generally named after family members, or famous people, or because the name sounded good. So I'd suggest almost naming by random. You could, for example, grab a magazine, turn to the masthead where all the contributors' names are, close your eyes, point to the page, and take the last name of the person you pointed to. That will give you a nationality - or if the nationality is impossible, poke another name. Then find a list of names that are commonly used in that nationality, and use the same random process. Done.
     
  15. awhipps
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    awhipps New Member

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    Thanks Everyone :D
    I've settled on Damien and Louise.
    But although i agree with many of your points, i do believe that the name has some kind of significance withing the story. if not for the reader, then for the writer. i'm not sure if im write in saying this but i would assume that choosing a name with background meaning would reflect the character itself, and might even help the writer build on a persona of the character...
    thats just my opinion, but thanks everyone ^^
     
  16. awhipps
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    awhipps New Member

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    sorry, my english was a bit rubbish there xD
     
  17. shakespear57
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    shakespear57 Member

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    i generally come up with a name, and as soon as i have that a character develops before i know it - their personality, the styles, what they look like. The character suits the name and the name suits the character - just something i've always found easy :)
     

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