1. Eurlo
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    Eurlo Banned

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    Randomly making names, am I the only one who does this?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Eurlo, Mar 26, 2011.

    I sit down alot and look around and blurt off random things that come to me like lights, stool, table, ect. And then make names with those, I randomly say syllables to sound the word out, then I spell it as odd as I can.

    So my question is am I the only one who does this method of name making?
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Nope, it's pretty much a staple of the fantasy genre.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not a big fan of randomized names. I prefer to stick with names you will encounter among your acquaintences, or deliberate derivations from those names.

    I don't write fantasy (at least not traditional fantasy), but I do write science fiction. Obviously, for non-humans, I have to develop non-human names, but I try to make the names consistent in sound and feel to characteristics of the species, including perhaps limitations in their vocal apparatus.
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Not being a writer of fantasy, I can't see doing randomized names at all. To me, the names of characters should sound like real people. You can use real sounding names to make a point (one of my favorites being a character named Heather Wolfe, from "Starting Out in Evening"). I have on my bookshelf a Character Naming Sourcebook, but I find I only use it when I am creating a character of certain ethnicities and want to make sure I have an authentic sounding name. And even then, I'll do variations.
     
  5. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    I haven't completely made up a name in a while. The fanfiction I'm working with has a precedent for basing names off of mythology and I'm trying to echo it without being too heavy-handed.

    For foreign-sounding words, I have gone the Star Wars route and mangled honestly foreign words so that only someone who speaks the language will be able to identify it.
     
  6. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've yet to read a fantasy novel in which everyone is named Steve or Betty or Tom or Sue. Maybe I just haven't read enough fantasy novels, but if no one's doing this, I think I'm on to something here. Someone should use that idea. You can have it for free -- you don't even have to thank me.
     
  7. Eurlo
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    Eurlo Banned

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    Meaning what?:)
     
  8. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    It's not quite what the OP is suggesting. But whenever I encounter names in the general public, I try to mix and match to come up with names for certain characters.

    I usually all ready have a first name picked out. But when I'm aching for a last name, I'll go to the cemetary, or I'll pay special attention to the names of people who come through my line at work. I almost always see last names and there's always an interesting one that pops up.
     
  9. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    The typical fantasy world with majestic sounding names is getting a bit overplayed, IMO.
     
  10. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Do Tom Bombadil and Susan Pevensie from LOTR and the Chronicles of Narnia respectively count?

    Oh...wait, that wasn't a challenge was it? :p
     
  11. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    Maybe not exactly using your method, Eurlo, but fiction writers (especially sci-fi ones) find ways to come up with creative, original names for their characters, places, eras, language, etc. that suit whatever ... 'feel' their works have.

    Sometimes this can be a mentally tedious process.
    Sometimes it can be thoroughly enjoyable.


    ---------------------------------------------
    Be good, wise and strong
     
  12. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Since I go into speculative fiction, I have to obviously make up names - although these names are oftentimes based on made-up languages (that'd be conlanging, if you know what that is), so it isn't as random as one would think. Regardless, these made-up languages and/or made-up names tend to give off a certain atmosphere to them, oftentimes giving hint at what the fantasy culture's real world inspirations are. For instance, some really bad examples off the top of my head, someone named "Jahalan Ar-Zadiq" probably comes from a Middle Eastern inspired fantasy culture, while "Kuang Qiumeng" probably comes from a Chinese-inspired fantasy culture.
     
  13. AwesomeTingle
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    AwesomeTingle Member

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    Now, I like more common first names, but I think random names can be totally fine for last names. I mean, you can encounter some people with really weird last names out there. Just the other day I met a guy... I think his name was Josh... Josh Shortsleeves.
     
  14. Ion
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    Ion Senior Member

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    I usually start with a type of character and then approximate a name that sounds right. Often I have an idea of what etymology I want the name to have, how many syllables it is, and what the feel of it's sound is going to be. Sometimes I have other constraints, like it needs to sound good when you shout it or it needs to be a common name.

    Then I go to a bunch of websites that list names, and browse around for ones that strike true. I select a tentative name from a list of these names. When I'm writing, I may still modify the name slightly or altogether if it doesn't read right in context.

    Just googling 'names' will get you a lot of material to get ideas from. I find that attempting to create completely random names generally gets you into the rut of having too many names that contain similar sounds or patterns. You can still make up random names if you'd like, but you can make better ones if you're looking at names people actually have.
     
  15. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    I don't necessarily mix up syllables, but I do try to come up with different names in my fantasy stories. But most of the time they are names I've heard or seen. Sometimes I'll just cut up a name and take the half that sounds good :) I'm a mishmasher of names.
     
  16. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not very often, I called a couple of horses Jedra and Tameska. Only names I tinkered with were my fire ones (Fyren, Blayze) but even they are mostly Ember, Flare, Flame, Solara etc

    Mine use Earth names from varient cultures:

    My fantasy even with different races uses names like Angus, Jack, Thomas,Nathaniel, Noah, Mark, Bessie, Beatrice, Lucy, Jessie, Lavender, Lilac, Alice.

    More unusual but representing different cultures: Izanami, Kazuto, Hai, Tola, Pich,Vibol, Damocles, Michaelangelo, Lorenzo, Socrates, Abraham, Reuben

    The animals are things like Tameska, Jedra, Ethel (horses), Galileo, Ptolemy, Moore, May, Blodeuedd (Cats - the last one belongs to Merlin and is from Earth though), Bede, Mayhem, Cobbley, Tarquil (birds), Gorse and Russ (wolf and a dog),

    I didn't even make up Fly Fornication that came right out of a history book.
     
  17. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Some names just pop in my head,
    but alot of the time I use different sights to help with names.

    One sight I use now for Elven names offers prefix and suffix sections with their meaning. So in one name you could have something that applies to that character in general, as where the person is during the time of story probably won't have been the case when the MC was born.
    example:
    Kyael=ruby knight.(the first two on the list) ky=ruby Ael=knight
     
  18. barnz
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    barnz Member

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    I scan the books on my shelf and put the names of different authors together sometimes :) but, I've been leaning towards more interesting names lately, but still not randomized ones, in this case I just think really hard. But I write horror/scifi in a realistic setting, so there you go.
     
  19. Eurlo
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    Eurlo Banned

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    Well i add objetcs together:

    Lamp, Chair= Lampcher(pronounced: Lom-sher)
     
  20. bekajoi
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    bekajoi Senior Member

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    I use random changes on actual names, and try to make them sound like real names as much as possible... Some I thought were original have since been heard, but I like that they sound so real, and st the very least are not terribly common. :)
     
  21. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    The difficulty in making up names is making them sound like they came from the same culture.

    For example,

    Balgas and Soric don't necessarily sound like names that come from the same area of a world.
     
  22. MidnightPhoenix
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    MidnightPhoenix Contributing Member

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    yeah I do it all the time, special with alien names which I come up with some strange ones, that I am not sure if I am going to kept them.
     
  23. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Art imitates life and there probably isn't a name that's weirder than someone could invent for their real kid.

    This is a story from a couple of years ago but the President of Venezuela took steps to make a list of approved names for kids because the people in the country enjoy inventing or borrowing bizarre names. I read another article about the story where the president said something like, "I found mayself making an important business transaction with two bank officials named Batman and Superman, and I thought this was not good for international business."

    http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/64558-venezuela-to-ban-stupid-names
     
  24. sereda008
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    sereda008 Senior Member

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    Sure. All my character names (Except my last weapon dealer, who was named after my school's principal) are completely random out of my head. It usually does not take long to pick a name.
     
  25. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I like to look up the meaning of non-English names and then turn them into English. I also do the reverse and pick an English word and then translate it.

    Years ago I knew a Japanese girl whose name was, phonetically, May hor ee, and that was just a hard to remember nonsense word for me. So, I asked her the meaning so that I could remember it better. She said that it meant "Mountain view of a spring time path" and I thought that was just beautiful! I looked up Japanese name meanings, there's a website, and many are just as poetic. In my blog book many characters have English versions of real Japanese names.

    My name means Beloved Mountain Dweller if translated.
     

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