Character names - Page 2


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Thread: Character names

  1. #11
    I spend very little time on names. I want the main's names to be unusual without being far out, so I'll often just slightly alter names we're familiar with to something which sounds similar but is unique. I pick a name out of the air, and play around with changing a vowel or a consonant until I get a sound I like, then write it. Example: Teven TacMarough, one of the mains in my heroic fantasy series.

  2. #12
    Well, you know the saying from Proverbs 22:1, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches".

    Personally, I find the "coming up with names" bit rather difficult. Matching the right name with the right character is sort of like choosing a specific wine to pair with a specific meal. It has to work for you or nothing flies.

    That being said, I don't think that a name necessarily has to be a great fit. I think that some of the most memorable character names in literature take on an ironic purpose. Sometimes, they seem so incongruous that they actually become charming in their own way as the story unfolds. Oliver Twist is the example that comes to my mind. Early in the novel, a secondary character speculates that the boy "will hang", a darkly humorous prediction suggested by the surname that Mr. Bumble invented for him - Twist. Of course, we learn at the end of the novel that Oliver, in fact, does not hang. In an ironic twist (no pun intended), the villain of the story inadvertently hangs himself.

  3. #13
    I just use a random name generator and call it a day... sort of. I'll throw names on characters, and most of the time, they just become synonymous with the character. There have been a few times when the name just didn't work real well. Maybe I needed a plain name like "James" or "John" to emphasize the "every day man" character. Or a name is too difficult to remember. Or it's too similar to another character.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Xander416 View Post
    What's your stance on naming characters? Are you meticulous about deciding on the "right" one or do you just use a random name generator and call it a day?
    A good question. Personally, there are usually two main ways that I figure out a character name.

    1) A random name pops into my head without warning. While I am preparing a story board or idea sheet for a new WIP, I will sometimes have
    one or two names at a time appear in my mind out of nowhere. They could be completely random, or similar to names I have encountered in
    a recent book, TV show, or other media. In this case, the name comes first and helps me to come up with an image in my mind, using said
    name, as to how the character should appear.

    2) Research. On the other flip of the coin, I already have a light description jotted down of the character (or a face floating around in my head
    at that time), but am unable to come up with a name. When this happens, I go on websites that show baby names, and let myself gravitate to
    which ever letter comes to find first (names depending on whether or not the character I am creating at that moment is male or female), and
    look at the various names until I find one that fits said character.

    I guess character names can be an adventure all on their own.

    -JJB
    ​"Strong convictions precede great actions....."

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  5. #15
    One of my WIP characters is named 'Simon', and I didn't realize the problems with the name until lately.

    Simon said, sounds too much like 'Simon says' from the children's game. SO - I'll be changing that.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    One of my WIP characters is named 'Simon', and I didn't realize the problems with the name until lately.

    Simon said, sounds too much like 'Simon says' from the children's game. SO - I'll be changing that.
    To 'said Simon' ?
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  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    To 'said Simon' ?
    Easier for me just to change it - this is just the first draft.

  8. #18
    I've only written a few short stories, and I think I used the same naming "process" in all of them. I use names of people I know, usually mixing and matching the first and last names. Pretty simple and it works for me.

  9. #19
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    For me a name will come to me and I the check out the meaning of the name. The male main character is named Alexander which means defender of man. The main female lead is Sophia which means princess of wisdom. They both fit the characters so I guess I got extremely lucky.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

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