1. sophzo
    Offline

    sophzo New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

    Why do things need names?!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sophzo, Jun 11, 2011.

    I know each place, character and any other significant business need a name but how on earth do you come up with names that are unique and don't sound like you have stolen them from someone else's work? I would hate to spend hours coming up with the perfect name only to read it in someone else's work.

    I am trying to think of a unique name for a cafe featured in the centre of my story but everything I think of sounds used already.

    So what I am asking, fellow pen-people, is what methods work for you?
     
  2. darkhaloangel
    Offline

    darkhaloangel Active Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    5
    It doesn't matter if it has been used before; in a way imagine you're naming a real Cafe. Think about who ones it, where it is, what does it serve etc.

    The Coffee House - probably there are lots of places called this, but it's instantly recognisable and you're not going to be out competed in our own novel. It's simple short and descriptive.

    Imagine the owners are called Mr and Mrs Best.

    Best's Cafe
    or The Best Cafe (if they're into terrible word plays!)

    You get the point. Treat it like a real buisness and don't worry about real life plagerism. (As long as it's not called StarBucks, Costa, Nero or Pret a Manger you should be fine!).


    PS: Or just go surreal and call it The Flying Parot or something unrelated.
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Don't try too hard to be unique. Many small eating places have reused names. I'm sure you could find Frank's Diner in many places, and cutesy names like Dewdrop Inn are never as original as their creators seem to think.

    You're a writer, and probably ten times as creative with names as most small business owners. Don't overthink it.

    (Last night I ate at the Alamo. In Massachusetts)
     
  4. NateSean
    Offline

    NateSean Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Salem, Mass
    My favorite coffee shop in my hometown is called the South Street Cafe. So named for the street it is on.

    As long as the shop's very last visitor didn't have the words "Health Inspector" in his nametag the only thing that matters is the coffee. Central Perk was the name of the shop in Friends. And here in Salem is a place I like to go to called Coffee Time Bakeshop, which is basically like Dunkin Donuts back when they made their donuts instore and not at a seperate location.
     
  5. JeffD
    Offline

    JeffD Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    1
    Unique is cool, but so is generic. Find a balance. Yin and yang.

    Hey I just thought of a cool dry humorous name for a coffee shop, "Coffee... and Etc.", I like it, you have my vote. You can use it if you like ;)
     
  6. Quezacotl
    Offline

    Quezacotl Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Ponyville
    If the owner of the store is involved in the story, even very briefly, imagine how s/he would choose the name of the cafe. Do not worry about 'stealing' names from other books. It's all been done before.
     
  7. WriterDude
    Offline

    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    738
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Icy cold wastes of Hell. Aka Norway.
    Think about your ordinary life. How often do you use the full name on things? I don't think you do very often, so why would the characters? Just go with what feels natural and you'll be fine. If they go to the cafe, let them say just that. "We're going to the cafe." Simple, yet effective.
     
  8. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Or, you could simply call it "the coffee shop". I would only name it if I wanted to give it a particular character to serve the purposes of the story. You can also just give it a proprietor's name, like "Roger's Coffee Shop."
     
  9. AvihooI
    Offline

    AvihooI Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Israel
    If the coffee shop in my story is Starbucks, then I'd use Starbucks. I don't see a problem with that. Just the same way if my story took place in England, I'd use the name 'England'. There's no copyright issue with it - and it's not due to lack of creativity. It's just that sometimes you'd use a known cultural figure in your stories - it's inevitable that you use real names for things.

    As for coming up with an original name. Cogito said it best - think like a business owner. If you intentionally try to create something new. Google it - you'll very quickly realise whether or not the name you picked is popular or not.

    Cheers.
     
  10. another wasted day
    Offline

    another wasted day Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    there
    Go with your first instinct. I don't think it's plagiarism if it's unintentional and anyway, most stories or aspects of stories have already been written in one form or another. It really can't be avoided.
     
  11. HBAdams
    Offline

    HBAdams Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Or you could call it The Coffee Shop! Generic, yet still gives it a name. :cool:
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. Leonardo Pisano
    Offline

    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    13
    Names are labels for the reader's memory.

    Café names can be important if it is some special place in your story. I would look for a name that rhymes with the theme of your story. If it is about demons, maybe something like the Light Room (if it is a refuge). If it is just a random place, once used in your story, I guess "We found a lunchroom that looked not too crowded, and decided to have a bite and a cup of chocolate there." is okay - no need to use a name for it.
    (Although if you call it in the example above The Happy Crowd you could give it a humorous twist).
     
  13. Ashrynn
    Offline

    Ashrynn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    7
    Eh, I'd say to hell with it.

    I put up a short story in my blog and just called the hospital "Santa Cruz General" I mean....Like....I don't care half the time.

    Use something generic for a business name.

    We have a Milano Pizza here where I live. So if I wanted a Pizza place, I'd name in Limano Pizza.

    Yeah, Get @ Me! <---(new Catchphrase!?)

    Edit - The poster above me is right. Unless it's important place in the story, or a place of significance don't stress names.

    ANOTHER EDIT WTF!? - When I name people I want them to have names that are meaningful. The main character of the story that I am writing, in which she defends someone from dying, is going to be Alex-the same name of the main character in the story in my blog.

    The person she saves from dying will be given the name Rena for Rebirth nearly being killed.

    Main characters or someone of GREAT importance could have important or meaningful names(even if it's just to you).
     
  14. NateSean
    Offline

    NateSean Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Salem, Mass
    Just once I want to see a Pizza place named Juan's or Rosita's. You know, make me think I'm going to a Mexican resturaunt and surprise me with pizza and pasta.
     
  15. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Well, several years ago there was an excellent Chinese restaurant named Colleen's in Cambridge, Massachusetts. One of teh best in town at the time, in fact.
     
  16. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    "First Baltimore Central Reformed Coffee Shop of Skinny Latte (High Roast)".
    Sorry, just wondering what would happen if they named coffee shops like churches.
     
    1 person likes this.

Share This Page