1. WhiteKnight75

    WhiteKnight75 Member

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    Mixing made-up names with normal ones

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by WhiteKnight75, Nov 26, 2017.

    So I have this world, that is heavely based on medieval europe and I am having trouble with the names. I hate making up names so I am trying to mix normal names with made up ones. Just to give you an Idea some made up names are Gale, Lyan and Benton (two of these are the main characters) and some normal ones are Jay, Lance and Markus. Do the normal names work or do you think, that I should change them?
    Have a nice day!
     
  2. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    I couldn't tell that the made up names where made up - I'm sure I've heard them all someplace else. The normal ones, though, felt too modern. Specifically Jay.

    Though if you DO hate making names up, I'm not sure why you'd do that at all. Search for old names from the region you're interested in and you'll have plenty to go around!
     
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  3. EstherMayRose

    EstherMayRose Gay Souffle Contributor

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    I agree. While I say "Go for it!", I also think that none of those names - real or made-up - have a particularly medieval feel. Try behindthename.com.
     
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  4. Antaus

    Antaus Active Member

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    I tend to be a name rearranger myself, what I mean by this is I use real words and alter them, such as the television brand Magnavox. Magnavox - na = Magnox, which is the name of one of my characters. Other times I combine, for instance I always like the name Sparhawk, a character created by David Eddings and so I combined it with the name of a biscuit of all things, honestly, no idea where some of this comes from. Sparhawk + Hardtack = Spartac
     
  5. Katie Ohara

    Katie Ohara New Member

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    go to 20000-names.com
    they have a HUGE range of names from more "normal" names to lists of things like dragon names. They list names by country of type and put the origin and meaning right next to them. Maybe that'll give you some inspiration :)
     
  6. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    Both categories of names seem exactly the same, probably because Gale, Lyan, and Benton are all actual names and not made up. I'm also not sure about Jay fitting, it seems a bit modern. But Lance and Markus feel like they fit to me -- spelling Markus like that is quirky and Lance is an unusual name that also fits nicely in a world where lances may be used often!

    I may spark outrage here, but I'm not sure what the big deal is with using made-up names in fantasy stories. When I write fantasy, I use existing names: a mixture of unusual names and the more common, depending on the character and what suits them. After all, even your fantasy country will have "common" names within itself that everyone uses! Plus, it's ten times easier for a reader to connect with your story when they know, or can at least easily guess at, the pronunciation of the names. So if I were you, I'd carry on using names that do actually exist and just take the time to make sure they all sound "right" together.

    Although, if you want actual medieval names, I should probably point out that few (possibly not any) of the names you've listed are medieval. Of course, most fantasy writers go down the make-it-up-route/pick-a-quirky-name-route anyway.
     
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  7. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    I'm gonna have to agree that your made up names aren't made up at all.

    Unless you're planning on constructing an original language like Tolkien did, I'd advise not even bothering with making up names. You tend to end up with actual names, unpronounceable ones, or ones that just don't fit.

    Personally, I assign personal and place names to my cultures by tying them to real world ones. The Marchers get German based names. The Corhiel get Anglo-Saxon or English. The Ciriac get French. Colonials are Italian. Vyspans are Irish. Mklarites are Ethiopian. The Tarig are Arabic. Amraki tribes are each tied to a different Native American one. Tyrians have mixed Latin/Punic names. The Yintari are Chinese.

    Name generators and baby name books/sites are a great help with that sort of scheme. Just be aware that some names were derived from other cultures due to religious influence, and would be orphaned in a secondary world. Think of how many common English names are Biblical ones (from the Patriarchs, Prophets, Judges, Jesus's disciples, bit characters, etc.), filtered through multiple translations from the original Hebrew.

    On that note, it's a good idea to work out the religions of your secondary world early on, since they can give you an idea of which names will be common, which ones will pop up in cultures they don't quite fit in, that sort of thing. Legendary heroes are another group of background characters that it's good to figure out early on for similar reasons.

    You can build culture here, with naming taboos and the like. Maybe nobody names their children after a tragic hero, or they think naming them after a particular holy figure is disrespectful. Or the opposite. Naming your son Jesus in the Anglosphere might get you some dirty looks, but it's common in the Hispanic world. Muhammad and variations thereof are the most common name in the world, if I'm remembering right. Yemeni Jews refuse to name children after Ezra due to a nasty disagreement they had with him. Endless possibilities.

    Here's my personal favorite name generator site. Besides all the other generators, there are a ton of ones for real world languages:

    https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com
     
  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    The made-up names are, I believe, all real names. "Markus", on the other hand, feels made up. When I Google I find that it's a real Dutch name, but I'm so used to "Marcus" that it feels like a misspelling. And, yes, both Jay and Lance feel rather modern.
     
  9. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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  10. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Contributor

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    My brother is actually called Markus. :D

    With made up names my only concern is that it will mean something in another language. I was recently reading a fantasy novel in a vaguely Chinese setting and one character was called Ranne. It means 'a wrist' in Finnish. It's not too bad and most people won't notice, but I would still google the names or put them through google translate (the recognize language function) to see if something stupid comes back. :p
     
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  11. Dragon Turtle

    Dragon Turtle Deadlier Jerry

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    lol, I always do this too, but I also accept it's probably impossible to make sure none of my names will ever sound silly to anyone anywhere. I mostly just screen to see if I've accidentally made up something stupid that many English-speakers would recognize.

    In my WIP, the male MC's name is a man's name in many languages, but it's also the Japanese word for a shrine maiden. A fact I know full well, with my weeaboo teenager past. But uh, oh well.
     
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