1. Jsnow

    Jsnow New Member

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    Elven character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Jsnow, Feb 4, 2017.

    I'm currently writing my first book and I'm stuck on a character name. I'm trying to choke up with an elven character name. Does any one have any advice on how to make one our any suggestions on some?
     
  2. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    You might as well use a Fantasy Name Generator at this point.
     
  3. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the site!

    If it were human names, I would just say "pick something at random, use it until you like it" ;)

    (It's a lot more effective than you think: was the Milwaukee Cannibal scary because his name was Jeffrey Dahmer, or is the name Jeffrey Dahmer scary because it's been associated with the Milwaukee Cannibal for over 20 years? The same applies to fictional characters: the names "Harry Potter" and "Walter White" would both sound incredibly dull if you were hearing them for the first time)

    The first thing I would do is look for Fantasy Elf Name Generators online and not stop there, do this next:

    Every time you see a name, write down something you don't like about it: how it sounds in your mind, how it sounds out loud, how it looks on the page... Even if you can't think of anything not to like about it, try any way. If, after trying your hardest, you can't come up with anything you don't like about it, then you now have a name you like. Write it down, save it for later, then rinse/repeat until you can come up with a few more.

    Now do the same with real life names: I'd recommend Irish and Welsh.

    Once you have a good mix of Irish, Welsh, and Generated-Elf names that you like, you can try cutting different syllables out of different names and pasting them together in new ways to get Elf names that will be original to your own world.

    If trying to turn names into new names for a while ends up not working, go to Google Translate next and type something at random until you find a sound that you like.
     
  4. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Phylonis

    IDK, something pretty/flowy with a good fantasy vibe.
    What is the gender of the Elf in question?
     
  5. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    It's a little more involved than that. Walter White utilizes sound. W and W. White suggests a purity, which, for viewers of the show, know to be ironic or tragic, depending on your interpretation of the story. Walter is a nerd's name. It's soft sounding and comforting, very similar sounding to water. Phonetics matter and so do allusions.

    Harry is similar to Walter. It's a nerd's name. Potter employs working class-indeed, Harry Potter grew up in a closet.

    Imagine, instead, that Harry Potter was called James Steele. I doubt most of us would envision the same book covers we've seen all over the train.


    Names do matter to some degree.
     
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  6. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I want to echo and expand on what 123 just said. Let's look at the word 'elf.' Phonetically, it is a very easy word to pronounce and even pleasurable to say. I would look into Latin or Greek names that share that soft and pleasurable sound that the word 'elf' has.

    If you want to go a more traditional route, you could look at Germanic and Scandinavian folklore (I believe this is where the myth of elves come from) and pick a name from that language.

    Perhaps the best answer is a combination of the two; Look at Germanic and Scandinavian names with soft sounds.

    Just my thoughts on the whole thing.

    -OJB.
     
  7. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Say a string of random words that roll of the tongue when doing a Galadriel impression. Pick one that feels right for your character. That's what I do. Make sure, though, that it fits with the "flavor" of your Elven language.
    Do you have other names or words I could see as an example? I may be able to come up with something. I'm far better at creating my own fantasy names than choosing real world ones. Also, it's up to you, but sometimes diacritics help make the name look way cooler and can allow you to spell it creatively while adhering to sensible orthography. For example, instead of using ah and oo as in Nahmaroon, you could use diacritics (Nämarún.)

    Without any context from you, here are some I've generated from my own brain:

    Male names:
    Olrum
    Ilionuron
    Noldithir
    Endron
    Valorum (I didn't come up with it, it's from Star Wars, but you could use it)

    Female names:
    Alanir
    Englathil
    Kaelira
    Dathamara
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
  8. Jsnow

    Jsnow New Member

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    Thank you very much everyone. This is all very helpful. The character i have in mind is a male archer. Kind of a distant shadowy type of character. I also will need a female elf name but she will be different. She will be more out going.
     
  9. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    FNG elf names have too many syllables that don't flow. Take "Dathamara". No one's going to actually call you that. People will call you D'mara, Dat, Dath or Big D.
     
  10. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    I'd prefer not to be referred to as "F---ing New Guy".
     
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  11. ChaseTheSun

    ChaseTheSun Senior Member

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    To my mind, the 'best' elven names I've read seem to share very similar phonetic qualities: lots of soft-sounding letters such as a/e/i/o/u/y, l, f, h, n, s, and r. I see less of d, j, k, p, v, b, g and z. Interestingly, I've noticed (although I may be bias sampling) often the villain/antagonist's name carries the latter category of letters (Voldemort, Darth Vader, etc)

    Apostrophes and dashes can add a sense of 'other-worldliness', however beware making your name too difficult for the reader to articulate - whether verbally or mentally - as they may tend to skip over the name whenever it appears on the page. This makes it easy to forget the MC's name, after reading the book ... impacting on the entire book's memorability.

    As a generality, female names will have a softer sound - more vowels, ls, vs and round/soft-sounding consonants and male names will have slightly harder sounding consonants: d, k, n, for example. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule. Also, the 'goodies' might tend to have softer names, with the 'baddies' having harder names. Again, exceptions are everywhere! I love that Tolkein's Sauron and Saruman are both very soft-sounding names.

    Ending a name with a pronounced vowel will make it appear more feminine. For example, Fenella sounds more feminine than Fenell. Consider the rules that already exist within various readers' own languages. For example, any reader familiar with the French language might assume that a name ending in -elle is a female name, due to this being a feminine noun form in French. Ending a name in 'o' or 'us' will make it appear more masculine, due to the Latin roots in several modern languages. Often readers will pick up on these subtleties subconsciously, without being aware of the grammar of Latin or French.

    A technique I have employed in the past: open a webpage or non-fiction book and just allow your eye to rove over the page, telling your brain not to pull out recognisable words but to create new words from picking up and dropping off any letters from the words it is seeing. For example, see the following wall of text:


    At one time about ninety paintings were counted as Rembrandt self-portraits, but it is now known that he had his students copy his own self-portraits as part of their training. Modern scholarship has reduced the autograph count to over forty paintings, as well as a few drawings and thirty-one etchings, which include many of the most remarkable images of the group.[40] Some show him posing in quasi-historical fancy dress, or pulling faces at himself. His oil paintings trace the progress from an uncertain young man, through the dapper and very successful portrait-painter of the 1630s, to the troubled but massively powerful portraits of his old age. Together they give a remarkably clear picture of the man, his appearance and his psychological make-up, as revealed by his richly weathered face.

    In his portraits and self-portraits, he angles the sitter's face in such a way that the ridge of the nose nearly always forms the line of demarcation between brightly illuminated and shadowy areas. A Rembrandt face is a face partially eclipsed; and the nose, bright and obvious, thrusting into the riddle of halftones, serves to focus the viewer's attention upon, and to dramatize, the division between a flood of light—an overwhelming clarity—and a brooding duskiness.

    (copied from Wikipedia - Rembrandt biography)

    Allowing my eyes to trail over these paragraphs and picking up on assorted letter combinations and sounds, I quickly assembled the following names:
    - Weyve (from word 'overwhelming')
    - Fordamiss (from words 'forty' and 'dramatise')
    - Viludia (from words 'reveal', and 'include')
    - Rhelm (from 'overwhelming')

    I don't know if this is particularly strange technique, but it's fun! It takes some practice ... the brain doesn't like being told to read text in a familiar language without putting those letters and words in their proper place. ;)

    You could also try these:

    http://elf.namegeneratorfun.com/
    http://fantasynamegenerators.com/dragonage-elf-names.php#.WJwp7_l97IU

    Good luck and have fun!
     
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  12. ChaseTheSun

    ChaseTheSun Senior Member

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    For your characters, I like the following:

    Enigmatic male archer:
    - Weyve (pronounced weave)
    - Rhelm

    Outgoing female elf:
    - Elwynne (male, Old English)
    - Yllweth (pronounced ill-wəth with soft 'th' like in 'hath')

    I second the advice somebody else gave - look at Welsh names! The consonant/vowel combinations in Gaelic languages are very elvish.
     
  13. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    It depends on their culture. If you find a real-world analogy to it, that would help and it's what I do.
     
  14. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    A lot of them sound like the the names of the latest products of the pharmaceutical industry. I think I actually took Endron and Alanir at some point.
     
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  15. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    True, I ended too many with -um.
     
  16. Jsnow

    Jsnow New Member

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    Again thank you very much everyone. Everyone's advice is very helpful. One name i came up with that i personally like is thurindir for the male archer.
     
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