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  1. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    Story stalled due to lack of a name...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Stormsong07, May 15, 2017.

    Anyone else have their story come to a screeching halt if they can't come up with a good name for a person/place/thing?
    Like, I literally can't move forward until I name this animal species. Just can't. It's a thing. I don't know why.

    Anyone want to throw some ideas into the ring?

    Trying to name a mythological creature based off a type of extinct saber-tooth cat, the Homotherium.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homotherium

    Physical attributes will be very similar. I plan to add some sort of magical attribute too, but haven't gotten that far. I was toying with ideas based on the scientific names (I did that once before in my story, my mythological bear-like beastie is called an Ursai)

    So I've tossed around:
    Theris-cat (based on Homotherium)

    Macha (based on Machairodontinae, the parent-family of the genus Homotherium)
    Machair
    Chairo


    and even Friesencat (due to a large number of Homotherium skeletons being found in Friesenhahn cave in Texas)

    But none of them sound right to me. Now, the name doesn't have to be based off the scientific stuff, it was just a starting point since I'd done it once before.
    And I'm literally stuck at in my story at this part:

    “What was that Beast?” she asked, gently kicking Smokey forward to ride alongside Lianora.
    “That was a ....."

    And I'm one of those anal people who can't just plug the hole with a temporary fix, I need a solution in order to move forward.
    Help?
     
  2. Robeey

    Robeey Member

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    Happens quite often to me. I sometimes spend about 10 minutes trying to figure out a name for a character, or a place :D
    It's all worth it in the end though. Creating is what keeps me going
     
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  3. Skye Walker

    Skye Walker Banned

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    You could name it something like "fanged cat" in another language. Latin, Greek, German, whatever.

    I actually like Friesencat, though. It sounds cool. :)
     
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  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Supporter Contributor

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    Theria?

    Also based off the scientific name. And yes, I'm familiar with this phenomenon :oops:
     
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  5. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, Friesencat was the one that I thought had more possibilities than the rest. I like your idea too. Time to search the language dictionaries...
     
  6. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributor Contributor

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    I can sorta relate because I used to have problems naming things myself. Somehow I broke through that blockade and haven't had this be a problem since. The key for me was to come up with something that sounded cool and fit into place, and then I'd just be happy with it and not overthink it anymore. It's helped a lot approaching it like this, the overthinking part is always what stumped me before. I also try and make sure it's not a name used for anything popular in literature or media in general, and if it is I'd try different spellings.

    Some suggestions for your creature:

    Lyben

    Farenthe

    Terscar

    Savthynne

    Carverner

    Another suggestion is to go to a name generator, something I'll do for ideas at least if I can't pull something out of my head quickly enough. Also, try to look at different languages as well, if you can decide what language might have named this beast, then that helps me. It doesn't have to be a language from your book, it can be a real language, like I would think it would be cool if this sort of creature was named by either a Norse tribe, or maybe something more Eastern. It makes it feel a bit more real when it has a name by something in our world would have done battle with. Not sure how to describe what I'm getting at here, it's a bit complicated...
     
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  7. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    When I'm in a middle of a writing session, I put a placeholder like: (TK_research on a cool name). After my writing session, I will scour the internet to get ideas on what to call a character or a thing. On the next writing session, I replace the placeholders with the name I'm satisfied with. If I still don't have any, I'll just call it whatever until the revision phase.
     
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  8. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I never let lack of a name hold me up. And, in fact, it's not unusual for me to go back and change a name - of a character, a place, or the work itself - several times before I finish.

    Forward momentum is too important to me. I try not to do anything to disrupt it if at all possible.
     
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  9. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributor Contributor

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    I agree with this...but I also have to argue that having a good name, for me at least, draws me in as the writer. It gives me rhythm, gives me a sense of what I want to do next, and gives me ideas. Don't ask how, I'm not sure, but there's a lot in a name. I get inspiration from it.
     
  10. xanadu

    xanadu Contributor Contributor

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    This.

    I can't really recall a time when I didn't have a name come to me easily, but if I didn't I would definitely need to keep pushing forward regardless. Once that momentum's gone, it's way too hard to get it back.
     
  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Yep me too , if i can't think of a name i'll just stick a placeholder in that's easy to find with search and replace (ie doesn't otherwise come up in the book) - this is why my MC in TDS has just had a fight out back of a redneck bar in Mississippi with two characters named bubba and flubba.
     
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  12. TyrannusRex

    TyrannusRex Active Member

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    If it were based on Smilodon, another Machairodontid (-tinin?), you could call it a Smilo or heck, just a saber/sabre.
    Also, be careful with "Chairo" as that sounds similar to the Greek cheiro, meaning "hand", whereas the name itself comes from machaira, "dagger".
     
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  13. Ettina

    Ettina Senior Member

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    I tend to forget to name things altogether. I'll be halfway through a story when it occurs to me that I've been writing about the dark-haired boy, the bossy woman and the MC known only as "I" in a nondescript unnamed kingdom run by an unnamed king.
     
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  14. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Definitely not Machair. That's the name of beaches in the outer Hebrides of Scotland that are formed of tiny broken shells.
     
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  15. Cave Troll

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

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    After making the incorrect confusion of quarks and corks (as you do). :supergrin:

    Though I will ask one important little question:
    What time period and setting does the story take place in?

    Cause based on the dialogue it feels Old Western type setting.
    (Also I think they might be riding horses.)
     
  16. Micheal

    Micheal New Member

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    I have a list of names i have made up.. over the years.. it is currently.. four pages long.. male and female.. At the end of Tv programmes and films, you get the credits.. you see name that looks interesting, i write it down.. or you hear a name on the radio, etc.. and i match up names, Like for example Kristina Delaney.. you just match up first names with second names, to see what goes and sounds right..
    I allways liked the surname Schwimmer, from david Schwimmer the actror from tv series Friends... i actually got the last name as a first name for a character i got in my third book of my series i am writing.

    You have a character you are developing, you just look at the list, to see what name fits the character.

    If i do have a problem with a name, i do not allow it to stop me from writing, like others have mentioned here.. i put a temp name in and keep going.
    You will allways need to go back and do alterations, so you just replace the name later.. once you found the ideal name.

    As for names for creatures, ships, in sci fi names of planets, etc.. a little bit of research goes a long way..
     

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