1. DBTate
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    DBTate Senior Member

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    Naming your characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by DBTate, Aug 17, 2011.

    Hey guys,

    I'm in the planning stages of my novel, and have just drawn up a somewhat detailed map of the world it is set in, complete with the names of rivers, kingdoms, deserts, different races and their lands, forests and even mountains!

    Now, I've got the character functions set out and the 'roles' for my story, but no names, descriptions or personalities etc. I just don't feel comfortable naming them yet. I know that if I felt like it, I could rename them later, but I don't particularly want to start writing with names that I don't love at first. I feel that might dictate how the characters turn out, and if it's a bad name, they might turn out bad :p

    So, how many of you begin writing without having first named all relevant characters? Does / has anyone do it? I feel like I will be capable of naming them better once I have a better understanding of them!

    Any feedback is as always greatly appreciated :D
     
  2. Ichigo Tsuki
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    Ichigo Tsuki New Member

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    Wow. lol. i do understand exactly what you mean, even tho i'm slightly the opposite. I'll have a glorious name spring into my head and from there everything else falls into place. You could always just name them letters. Character A, the personality and such, Character B, and so on. And once you get that down, you could run online and check out a wealth of names from bland to exotic. Almost all baby name websites also have the meaning of the name if you want the meaning of the name to tie in with personality or their point in the story.
     
  3. jazzman
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    jazzman Member

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    i am exactly like you, i cant begin writing a story until the names of my characters are thought out because i think the name means so much...it is the first contact a reader had with the story and in my mind if the reader doesnt connect with the name of your character/s then they wont care about their history or background....in my opinion it is the most frustrating thing about writing :)
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to have the 'right' names before I can really get going. As you say, it does influence the way you (or at least I :rolleyes:) perceive the character, and that washes over into the writing. I suppose I could just call the MC "Herkimer" until I thought of something better - but I'd probably write him as somewhat less than heroic, not to mention getting the giggles every time he came on the scene. I don't have to name the hero "Lance Dashing", but it has to be something that I (and hopefully readers) can more easily associate with the hero 'type'.
     
  5. KinkyCousin
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    KinkyCousin Member

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    My characters usually change names a lot until I am happy with them :D my MC has had her name changed about three times. I try to pick their names before starting but sometimes I just plain don't feel it suits them and have to change it.
     
  6. DBTate
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    DBTate Senior Member

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    Thanks for the feedback so far! :)

    A trick I use for naming other things such as cities etc. is to simply join words that explain whatever I'm naming together. For example:

    Land that is magical = Lanasical...

    Sure, it's not the best name for a city :p but if you tinker with the letters and maybe add some punctuation to it, you might have yourself the next Mordor or Hogwarts.

    Speaking of which, I hope Rowling didn't do Hog + Warts = Hogwarts.
    :eek:
     
  7. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't just pick a name for a character - I need to wait for them to "tell" me. If the name doesn't fit them then I just won't get into it.

    For two months my MC's brother was known as "YXZ" in the outlines until I worked out his name. :D The MC himself remained nameless for four months last year when I was working on the prequel. However, he's still known by the placeholder ("Kitten") rather than his real name - hence why I went with letters, rather than a word, for his brother's placeholder.
     
  8. proserpine
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    proserpine Member

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    I need to know my characters before I begin, and naming is a part of that process. Names are important to my current story, so they were chosen to serve a purpose. I have to personally like the name, but not enough to save it for a future child. I prefer for each character's name to start with a different letter, which makes them a bit easier to distinguish while reading.
     
  9. AveryWhite
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    AveryWhite Senior Member

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    i can write without having there name in stone, but i do prefer to have the names all there so i can really connect with the story and character; other wise i just use a,b,c instead until the name comes to me. but it can be fustrating when i just cant find that right name. something similar and close to what you want can come along but its not quite there - annoying.

    im still looking for a few names for my charcters and its been a few months now.
     
  10. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    I name nearly all my characters as I go along, sometimes even my MC! I often go back and change some of them later during editing, though.
     
  11. Deleth
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    Deleth Member

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    personally I've renamed my two main characters in my current story six times between them till I found the one that felt right. Just go with it and if it starts not to feel right, try something else. :)
     
  12. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like to know the name of the main character, at the very least. Much like a friend...

    The names of the sidekicks change, sometimes.
     
  13. Amsterdamatt
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    Amsterdamatt Member

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    So, no. :)
     

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