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Naming characters
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Thom



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 57
Location: Seattle Area
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Depends.

Sometimes, I will grab names from a baby book or this self-published little thing I got in a role-playing store that has names by Nationality (I actually use that one in game writing a lot, so that Serbian characters have Serbian names and what not).

If it's historical, I will go to the Saint Gabriel SCA site and it's crapload of exhaustingly researched period names.

For something ancient and weird, I go to Wordgumbo.com and pick an obscure language, then find a word with an appropriate meaning for a name (I use Hittite a lot for this kind of thing).

For main characters, I will sometimes include deliberate references. In the werewolf novel I am writing, all the werewolves have names based on historic werewolves. For another novel, I have characters deliberately sharing a surname with pulp characters for the Wold Newton-style fun of it (a thief named Tempeste Lupin, after the original French Lupin and the manga/anime Lupin III, that kind of thing).

I enjoy coming up with names for characters,you should just have fun with it.


Last edited by Thom on Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:17 am; edited 1 time in total

Post Wed Jun 20, 2007 3:18 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Thom



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 57
Location: Seattle Area
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Looking back at a comic series I was working on in the nineties...

Christian Bach: Psychic investigator and main character and source of the sig "xnbach" I use for lots of things internetual. The first name was just a cool euro-name I liked, the last name was my Oma's maiden name.

Kate Meadows: The love interest. The first name is what my ex-wife would have chosen for herself if pre-natel folks got to chose their own name. The last name was a play on her surname of Grass.

Marcus Walker: Christian's best friend. I just wanted something that sounded African-American. Once I had it, I gave him the middle name of Garvey and decided that all his siblings were also named after historical civil rights activists.

Muriel "Purple" Hayes: Best friend of Kate. The name was based on the name of my one African American girlfriend (well, not so much girlfriend, more like woman I made out with a lot for a month or so in college). The nickname was actually the nickname of a friend of my ex-wife, who wore that color at all times and worked at a store that sold everything in that color. The fact that the name ended up being a Jimi Hendrix pun was entirely accidental, but I kept it anyway.

Krishna Ashbury: Hippie girl crushing on Marcus. I thought Krishna was a good deadhead/hippy name. The last name is from Haight-Ashbury.

Blake Wellington: Kate's ex. The first name was just something that I thought said "cheating ex-boyfriend". The surname is from the secret identity of the Spider (an old pulp hero).

Seth Ankou: Bad guy magician type who looks like Julian Sands. The surname is a folkloric death figure from northern France, the first name just seemed like a good black magician name.

Tizoc: Seth's bodyguard and Aztec were-jaguar. A historical Aztec name that I actually got from a friend's RPG supplement (GURPS Aztec) because it means something like "He Who Makes Them Bleed" and I thought that was a good name for a jaquar warrior.

Anton James: Friend of Christian and Marcus. That name just came to me out of the blue.

Liz: Waitress love interest of Anton. Inspired by the song Kim the Waitress, I just picked something that sounded a little like "Kim"

Lester: Vampire. I wanted a nerdy Buddy Holly looking vampire instead of an uberkewl goth prince. I picked Lester because it is kind of nerdy, yet sounds a little like Lestat.

Zoe Soren: Christian's ex. The first name came to me as the perfect name for her, the last name I picked from a list of Danish surnames.

Miranda Prosper: A witch from Christian's past. Complete riff from The Tempest.

So there you go. Names can come from all sorts of places.


Last edited by Thom on Tue Aug 07, 2007 4:13 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:18 pm   View user's profile Send private message
The_Eternal_Lost_Boy



Joined: 30 Jun 2007
Posts: 39
Location: CA
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The truth about names is that they can, infact come from anywhere. I tend to and am currently writeing a story with Japanese Charaters, I am white and live in America so the majority of my exposure to the japanese languge is from anime. A great Majority of my charaters names can be traced back to at least a cupple of diffrent anime, although I rarly use names from my favorites.

Becuase I work within the frame of a very paticular ethnisity, online baby nameing dictionarys have become my "best friend"

However last names or "surnames"...."family names" well they just threw me for a loop! I've looked up Japanese Surnames, and not only are they extremely limited but they are needlessly complex! so When I choose a last name for my most of my charaters....I cheated. I looked up a paticular word in japanese and that became their last names. for instance,one of my charaters had the atribute of a chaotic personality. so her last name became "Konran" or in english "chaos"

Post Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:29 am   View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
anigurl28



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 9
i hate myself for this  Reply with quote  

i could usually write for a couple pages without naming my character once, but then when i finally do decide it's time to name him/her ...........i blank.

i could sit there for a good twenty minites before coming up with something, and i'll still hate it in five minutes.

what should i do?
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Post Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:01 am   View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
anigoddess



Joined: 14 Jan 2008
Posts: 1
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with me its i can write a few paragraphs into the story and get pretty into the character but thats as far as i can go without giving him/her a name, and i might even sit there for hours without writing another word until i pick a name for that damn charcter.

Post Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:00 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Oliverbritten



Joined: 01 Mar 2008
Posts: 119
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The majority of ideas I get, whether they be for plots or character names, always tend to come to me at random times. I never sit down and think of ideas. I named one of my main characters in my stories Price because he is an assassin that has no real name, so they just call him Price. It made sense at the time.

Post Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:19 am   View user's profile Send private message
urhangovergirl



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 705
Location: center of the purple haze
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I just watched a movie where the assassin took the name Mr Price, for lack of having a name of his own I think...
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Post Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:34 am   View user's profile Send private message
Oliverbritten



Joined: 01 Mar 2008
Posts: 119
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urhangovergirl wrote:
I just watched a movie where the assassin took the name Mr Price, for lack of having a name of his own I think...


Crud I should probably change the name. Maybe something ironic like Mary, an assassin named Mary seems funny enough.

Post Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:51 pm   View user's profile Send private message
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
So, where do you get names for your characters?  Reply with quote  

Well, different places:

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/copl/ho_43.86.4.htm#

Post Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:46 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
gracie



Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Posts: 338
Re: So, where do you get names for your characters?  Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
Well, different places:

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/copl/ho_43.86.4.htm#


great name but sooo not what I pictured. How about gracie, now that is a great name
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Post Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:15 pm   View user's profile Send private message
urhangovergirl



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 705
Location: center of the purple haze
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Oliverbritten wrote:
urhangovergirl wrote:
I just watched a movie where the assassin took the name Mr Price, for lack of having a name of his own I think...


Crud I should probably change the name. Maybe something ironic like Mary, an assassin named Mary seems funny enough.


I like that
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Post Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:06 am   View user's profile Send private message
Poofiemus



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 91
Location: Education Camp--I mean, college.
Re: So, where do you get names for your characters?  Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
Well, different places:

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/copl/ho_43.86.4.htm#


That's where his name came from? Seriously? *falls over laughing, baffling the roommates* Dude, I thought his last name had more to do with the term for really salty water.

Ah well. In last year's disaster of a NaNoWriMo project, I had a character named Spinach. Interestingly enough, I felt his name actually worked. It was the whole "Let's try writing 50K words this year without a plot" part that didn't.

Maybe I should search historical names for the character in this year's sci-fi novel. He's currently going by Sergei, but it's not quite working.

Also, to Gracie:
I like the idea of this badass assassin having a female name. On the other hand, maybe it should be a little more subtle, just enough so if you didn't know a culture enough to know it was a female name you'd make the mistake, but everyone else is like, "Um, isn't that a girl's name?" Maybe Artemis or Demeter, for instance--both ancient goddesses.
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Post Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:28 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
zendao42



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 13570
Location: Somewhere in a galaxy near you
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Like Artemis Fowl, eh? Wink

Post Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:28 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
funbagz



Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Posts: 61
Location: I'd tell you if I knew
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I choose names by thinking of someone I know that reminds me of the character from real life or other fiction. But I wouldn't listen to me, I suck at naming things; my cat is on name number 12. (it's name's Fluffer now, if you're wondering)
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Post Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:43 pm   View user's profile Send private message
sugarraydodge



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 647
Location: Utah
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For realistic names you can always use a phone book or (if you're old enough to not give a shit about people you went to high school with) an old yearbook.
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Post Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:14 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
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