1. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Need help naming my protagonist

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by jazzabel, Feb 3, 2012.

    I have overthinked this and now I am stuck. So I am hoping some of you might help with naming my protagonist.

    She is young, but the novel is not an YA novel, she just happens to be 17 when the book starts. She is a runaway. She comes to the UK from an unspecified region in Central/Eastern Europe. The story is set in the future.
    She is strong and determined, a new vampire with nobody to turn to, she is not happy about being different, but she is a survivor. She sings well, is quite clever and resourceful and somewhat antisocial. She is still a girly girl in many ways (she likes nice things, she went to ballet school when she was younger but she is not a dancer anymore. This is not a plot relevant detail, she is not going to pointe her way out of a showdown or anything, in case you were getting worried :D).

    So she will embark on a "hero's journey" and all that, in a complicated futuristic suspense, political intrigue, a gothic story, twisted romance and stuff.

    So I need a name that would be fierce but not too unusual. It is set in the future where the whole planet speaks English, but there are still regional cultures and languages thriving. But the names are no longer very specific to the culture, although they can be.
    It would have to be a name that is pronounced easily, not necessarily an English name, but something that would not stand out too much.

    I love Lilith, but it is a very cliche. I love Violet, but recently I saw a movie Ultra Violet, so that ruined it for me. Nothing like Drusilla, Elvira, Evelyn etc, because they are too angsty.

    If anyone is feeling inspired, I'd be grateful for your help!
     
  2. Cosmic Latte
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    Cosmic Latte Member

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    Have you tried a search on popular baby names? I was on a website once that sorted them country.
     
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  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh god, I have tried everything. That's the problem, I've been obsessed with finding the name that nothing sounds right anymore. I have tried all the online baby name sources from just about every culture I can think of, random names generators, considered deities, famous people, characters from fiction (that I knew of) read the backs of all the CD i own, I keep reading the credits after shows or movies...
    And all this helped me find great names for most my other characters, it is only my protagonist, and her obsessive ex lover, that I just can't name.
    In all this, I constantly feel that one of these days I'll just see a name and go "Yes! That's it!" but it just isn't happening :(
     
  4. Jamez
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    Jamez Member

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    Hi jazzabel,

    Why let Ultra Violet ruin your choice for Violet? If Violet is right for your character's name, who cares that there's characters in other fiction who are similarly named? That even happens in real life - I know for a fact that there are at least two other people alive who share both my first and last name!

    Personally, for my characters, I just go with the first thing that springs to mind. If I am unsure if that first idea is right, I'll put it in the manuscript like "[Mark]", so I can easily search for and replace this character's name, should I chance upon a better name later.

    hth,
    Jamez
     
  5. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Evonica
    Serafina
    Ambrosya
    Everblue.
     
  6. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Ha! I just renamed a character called Lilith to Serafina, actually Seraphina. Just thought I'd share that :redface:
    As far as naming characters go I'm about as fastidious as you are Jazzabel. I have to find the right name otherwise the story goes nowhere until I do. I know you said you've searched every baby name site, but have you tried namesberry.com? I found it particularly interesting as it gives some unusual lists of names under, sometimes, equally unusual subjects. The only name I can suggest comes purely as inspiration from your username. How about Jezebel?

    Good luck! And I hope you find the name you're looking for :D
     
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  7. krtr
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    krtr Member

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    Maike. It's kind of like Micah, only more girly and cooler.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Jamez :)
    It's just my insecurity because the book is partly about vampires and Twlight has done so much damage that it prejudiced many readers against anything to do with this topic. Plus it was so badly written. I thought to couple that stigma with the stigma of Violet from a very crappy movie, might be too much. But I love that name.

    Hey Cacian :) Thank you, they are very interesting! I really like Everblue, it might be too unusual for my main protag, but it might be perfect for someone else in the story. I really appreciate it :)

    @Midnight Adventurer: oh, I am so happy I am not he only obsessive researcher here :D I love the name Jezebel, Sade song with tha name is one of my all time favourites, but it is a bit "derogarory" not to me personally, but it carries a bit of a definite connotation. Since there is a lot of vice and sin in the story, I worry that Jezebel might be a bit too "explanatory".
    It's a pity really, because I really like it and it goes with a few other lovely names that I just don't have the guts to use. And thank you!

    Thank you krtr, it's a really interesting name, it sounds Scandinavian or Germanic?
     
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  9. krtr
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    krtr Member

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    I'm not entirely sure, but I first heard of it in Germany. It's also spelled Meike from time to time, but I prefer the spelling Maike because that's how I first saw it. It's something like the Jessica of Germany as far as I can tell. It was wildly popular in the 80's and early 90's, but it's more uncommon now.
     
  10. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Haha. Yeah, don't worry you're not the only one. I'm well acquainted with searching through name sites, lol. Aw it's a shame about Jezebel, but now you've convinced me to dig deeper. I've done some quick research and found the name Saskia (Phonetic Pronunciation: SAHS-kee-ah). It's Dutch and it means "knife", if you care about meanings. I also like Isadora. It's latin and means "Gift of Isis." It's the name of a baddie in one of my go-nowhere stories at the moment, lol. It's a strong name and feminine at the same time. Cleo is also a nice, strong name.

    I seriously suggest you have a look at this link.
    http://nameberry.com/lists/category/girls-names

    I hope those might inspire you. Good luck! :)
     
  11. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Almost right - it's actually Greek, but I do like it too :)

    I'm not sure whether you want something so blatantly 'special' as a name for your protag though - if your protag is meant to have a very unusual background or come from a different culture then fine, but otherwise it just smacks of marysuishness, in my mind.

    Personally I'd go for something familiar but not TOO common. Like Gillian, or Simone. Maybe even something eastern European, i.e. Polish, like Agnieska, or Anya. Daniella is also a popular name in Romannia and Poland. So is Sylvia.
     
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  12. Cosmic Latte
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    Cosmic Latte Member

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    What if you just wrote your character out for a time and not worry about her name? I kind of do this alot, because I feel names are really important. They represent the character in the reader's mind long after the book is put down. Although, sometimes it can take a while to come up with the right name.

    BTW, Micah is Hebrew.
     
  13. Fallaryn
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    Fallaryn New Member

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    You could try Fiala, which is Czechoslovakian for "violet".

    I've known a fair few girls from eastern Europe, so here's some other names for your consideration:

    Anastasia (ahn-a-stah-zhee-uh)
    Ivanka
    Marianna
    Nadia
    Natalya
    Oksana (ok-sah-nah - basically saying "oak sauna")
    Olena (oh-len-uh)
    Orysia (no info on it; oh-rih-zhee-uh)
    Zlata (I think the Z is treated like an S)

    There were also a couple girls named Nicole.

    The name that spoke to me for your character though, is Ivana.

    I hope these names give you more ideas. Good luck finding her name!
     
  14. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    Honestly, I bought a book called "The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook" by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I get all of my names out of there. It gives the origin of the names as well as its meaning. It's been really useful. You should check it out.
     
  15. Cosmic Latte
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    Cosmic Latte Member

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    That's pretty. It has a ring to my ear that speaks of something quiet yet strong, vulnerable yet confident. I could see it making a good vampire name.
     
  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haha, "my go-nowhere stories" I have a few of those too :D
    Saskia is actually used in the UK too, I didn't know it meant "a knife" that's an interesting possibility, thank you :)

    I agree, it is a bit fancy, plus, it's my middle name, so in my case it would definitely reek of marysuishness. With such an interesting name the character needs to be quite mundane, or the surroundings, I like playing simple and compex agains each other, on a shallow level, it adds a bit of depth :)
    Simone could work

    That's what I've been doing for months now, but the lack of name really bothers me. I can't "feel" the character fully, somehow. And I agree, name is important. I am in awe of when the writer comes up with a perfect name for a protagonist, like Elisabeth Salander, Lilu, Deidre, Scarpetta, Sherlock Holmes, I mean, the story writes itself, doesn't it?
     
  17. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's a lovely name! Thank you :)
     
  18. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ok, this picture resembles my mental image of her the most
     
  19. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Ok, randomly enough the name that instantly leaped out at me when I saw her was Gretchen.

    No idea why - I don't even know any Gretchens!
     
  20. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    Sorry if these have already been suggested, but that picture says to me names like Sasha, Vika, Aliona, Anya....so basically names ending in -a!
     
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  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Kandy Sweetpuff.

    But seriously, why do people feel such a need to get help with names? Stretch your imagination. If you don't like the first name you come up with, use a placeholder name you can easily do a global replace on later.

    Writers don't develop their imaginations by asking others to do their thinking for them.
     
  22. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dear Cogito, why must you be so harsh?
    I am not asking anyone to do any work for me, I am asking for names suggestions, because I am in general bad with names. Always been. Most of the time I can and do think of names for my characters, and I resent the implication that "I am asking others to think for me".
    If that is so, then lets close down this entire forum, because it is nothing other than people, too lazy to do their own research, too lazy to develop their own imaginations, too lazy to take responsibility for their own ideas and editing, asking others to think for them.
    Come on, surely that's not right...
     
  23. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    She does look like a Gretchen, you are right :D But it's a bit too "anglo" though. But thank you :)

    Thanks so much prettygood, Anya definitely fits with her background. Sasha too, but I find that in the West it is usually perceived as a purely male name.
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are many threads where people are looking for ideas on how to approach a writing problem. That is productive, and healthy.

    There are also many threads where people are looking for approval to go ahead and write. That's insecurity, and feeding it does no one any favors.

    And there are threads where people ask people to come up with XXX for them, whether it be names, or plot ideas, or a vote between options. Occasionally a writer can be genuinely stuck. It may be something like they've painted themselves into a plot corner, and need to get unstuck. It's still better to work it through on your own, but an occasional nudge is okay.

    But a lot of it is indecisiveness, a fear of committing to a choice. It's not a healthy writing habit, so I strongly believe the kindest move is to snap them out of it. So choose something. If you don't like the choice later, change it. But meanwhile, you have moved forward.

    I don't think it's at all harsh to tell people they can think for themselves, and to encourage them to do so. It's much harsher to give up on them.
     
  25. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can see what you mean, and that's fine, but in this instance I feel I backed myself into a corner. I overthinked it, that is a problem. Also, I am wrestling with a really complex storyline, I am new to this, I mean, I am not new new but I am nowhere near as experienced as I would like. Plus, you guys here on the forum are the only writing friends I have, so I thought I'd ask, since I know it is not my strong point a t the best of times and I already spent so long on it.
    I do appreciate what you said though. Most likely, there is nobody but me that can sort this out, it is a matter of committing to a choice, and the reason behind my problem is probably insecurity, as you said.
     

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