1. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    Have you ever noticed or found out something about your character's name after you made it?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Elven Candy, Jan 14, 2017.

    Hello everyone!

    When naming my characters, I usually just make something up that "sounds" like their personality. However, for a few of them, I've discovered something interesting about their names that I simply didn't notice when I named them.

    Valfredo is my MC dragon's name. It's a real name--I found it on a baby names website and loved it. What I didn't know is that it's one letter away from the food alfredo. I found out about the food when my brothers teased me about it.

    Kina is the name of a human girl in my book. I made the name up. Recently, my characters have been talking about kings, and I kept accidentally putting "Kina" instead of "king." That one letter is killer!

    Pelion is the name of another dragon, and another name I made up. One day when I typed it, I noticed it's the only name Microsoft hasn't red-lined (to say it's misspelled). I googled the name, and it turns out to be the name of a mountain in Greece.

    This got me wondering if my fellow writers have also been surprised by their characters' names. Anyone have a little story to tell?
     
  2. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Once I had a character named Harridan. Thought it was pretty cool until I googled his name and learned it was a word meaning 'crabby old woman'. Needless to say, I changed the spelling of the name quickly.

    One of my characters was named John Edwards, a shy school boy who likes to read DC comics. Well, upon googling his name, I realized it was also the name of a very prominiate US politician.

    'Mishu', the name of my MC from my fantasy is just a few letter swaps from being the common Eastern European name of 'Mischa'.

    One of my characters in my fantasy has a last name that, if you were to speak it, sounds like you're saying 'sorry' with a lisp.
     
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  3. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    :superlaugh:
     
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  4. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    On the Epic Fail side, back in the early '80s I gave my MCs in my first novel made-up German names, with the idea that that ethnicity was heavily represented in their midwestern American city. I called my architect hero "Baumann," thinking that since the word "Bau" means building, "Baumann" would mean something like "Builder Man." But not long ago I learned it's a real German name meaning peasant, or neighbor. My Christian heroine's last name is Beichten, which doesn't exist as a surname in German. My wee little German dictionary told me it meant confession. Goodie, like "confession of faith." Nope! More like "confession of sin," or so I've recently discovered.

    Well, those are their names, it's too late to change them, and I'm reconciled to the fact that they're off from what I intended.

    On the serendipitous success side, I once entered the names I'd chosen for the MC and the antagonist of my second novel into a site that purported to analyze your personality based on your name. And even though I'd pulled their names out of the air, the results that came up fit them perfectly.

    I wish I still had the address of that site. It was bookmarked on another browser, on another computer, long dead.
     
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  5. Cave Troll

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

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    A major secondary of mine has a real name. Zlada Volkov, the irony being that Volkov is Russian for wolf and her
    nick name is Red Wolf. :p

    Though for the vast majority of my characters are all made up, and more than likely won't register into a search
    on google. I thought Graxis would be a pretty common name for an alien, though the interwebz disagrees.
     
  6. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Hey, change one letter and you've got "Harrigan." 'Tis a good Irish name, it is!

     
  7. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    I am very careful with my character's names to make sure they are correct for ethnicity, location, and period. (Thank you Herodotus. Though, I do have to un-Latinize the names recorded by the Romans.)

    The strangest thing that I've encountered was some serious confusion where someone kept wanting to know why I thought the Celts and the Japanese had any interaction in 500 BCE. I was writing about two Celtic tribes (Boii from Bohemia and Nori from Noricum) and had no idea why they kept insisting half my characters were Japanese. Turns out Nori is a type of Japanese seaweed.

    It was one of those times when I realized that no matter how clear, concise, specific, and historically accurate you try to be the reader will always bring THEIR biases to the book.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
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  8. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    In my current story I named my characters after biblical people with the exception of someone named Christos. I got that name from The Beach.
     
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  9. Cave Troll

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

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    That does sound kinda interesting. I knew Nori was seaweed, but I did not know it was a Celtic tribe.
    But between the two should they meet, you will have some strange sushi. :p
     
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  10. psychotick

    psychotick Contributor Contributor

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    Hi,

    My first fantasy novel I called my MC - Marjan. In essence I started with Martin and changed the name until it sounded not English.

    Later I found out that Marjan is Hebrew for either Small Pearls or From The Sea. It's also Bitter Fruit in another tongue which I forget.

    By the way EC, Kina is also a Maori word for the flesh of a spiny sea urchin. I don't recomend eating it. It looks like passion fruit pulp except more orange, and smells like rotten fish. But it is a delicacy!

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  11. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    Oh my gosh that's hilarious! I don't tend to google my character's names because I don't want to find out one of them means something I don't like--especially if I really like their name! At least Kina's doesn't mean something terrible, though "flesh of spiny sea urchin" certainly doesn't fit her personality. It's actually a name Valfredo gave her, after his beloved Elina.

    These are fun to read!
     
  12. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I named one of my male protags Brenna in an LGBT romance story. Everyone kept thinking he was a girl upon reading the story. I thought it was pretty darned clear that he's a dude. I didn't know that Brenna is a common enough girl's name over in the U.K., and it's not unheard of even in the U.S., I simply had never come across it and thought I had invented it in my head.

    I changed his name to Brenn. Problem solved. :)
     
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  13. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds like a girls' name to me...
     
  14. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Even with the zero ending? :bigfrown:
     
  15. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    If you go to a sushi bar, it's called "uni", and it's quite popular.
     
  16. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Yep. I named a character Rhea, Rhey for short. I knew I wanted her to be named after a Greek goddess but use a nickname.

    Then I looked for a new name, because I didn't want people to think of that Rey person in Star Wars. But the more I read, the more I realised Rhea was perfect for her - Rhea was the mother of the Olympians, a real maternal figure, and that suited the story. So she's still Rhey, and meh at the Star Wars thing.

    Brenna isn't a name here, male or female! But names ending in -a do tend to be female, so I can see the confusion.
     
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  17. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    Nope, "Brenn" is a dude, but "Brenna" is very female.

    Not in tip-top shape right now, but I think there are more female names in the Englo-sphere that end in "a" than male ones. Anyway, Brenna sounds like Brenda, and Bren sounds like:

    [​IMG]
    and if that ain't manly, I don't know what is.
     
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  18. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    *shrug* I was told it was complete with examples of sisters, friends, friends of friends, all that action. :wtf:

    Regardless and whatevz, knocking the "a" off the end resolved the issues. :whistle:
     
  19. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    They might have confused it with Brenda, which is a fairly common name among middle-aged people. Brenna just ain't a name.

    Agree that Brenn sounds more masculine off the bat :agreed:
     
  20. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    Huh. Urban Dictionary says:
     
  21. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are, in fact, several listings in U.D. for the Brenna. o_O
     
  22. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, but the top one seemed to sum up most of what lay below.
     
  23. Cave Troll

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

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    Though in an odd way, I think you might still feel manly with one of these. :supergrin:
    PinkAK47.jpg

    Though it is interesting to follow the add/subtract a letter conversation.
    But I think I have found something that has plenty of male names ending in 'A'.
    Though I don't know who names their kid Sequoia. :p

    http://appellationmountain.net/boys-names-ending-with-a/
     
  24. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I know a guy who seriously thought about naming his daughter husquavarna (after his chainsaw). Fortunately his girl lfreind disaproved

    Also it takes the most manly man to feel secure while using a pink AK
     
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  25. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    Manly is as manly does.

    [​IMG]
     
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