How do we come up with names for fictional characters?

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lisalynn
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Re: How do we come up with names for fictional characters?

Post by lisalynn »

katarina66 wrote:
19 Jul 2012, 15:40
Funnily enough, with all the thousands of names bandied about out there, chosing a name which fits your character can be very difficult. I heard an amusing story once. Joyce holmes, crime writer, called her villian David. Her editor said, 'David is much too nice a name for a villian, change it.' So, using the find and change feature in word, she changed all the Davids to Dick.
Her publisher later contacted her and said do we really need this?
She had origonally said that her protagonist had a nose like Micheal Angelo's David.
That's hilarious. I love this!

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eastandalchemy
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Post by eastandalchemy »

I never like to name my characters right away, I like to get to know them first. If I'm really stumped I will use an online name generator that allows me to filter based on a variety of characters (heritage, mythological references, historical context, etc.) I'll make a list with all the names that I like and pull from there when I'm ready to name everyone.

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clint_csperry-org
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Post by clint_csperry-org »

I take a different angle on character naming. I will generally come up with a name, often something out of the blue, but I build the character as I write the story. The more I write the more the name just seems to fit. I suppose that in the process of writing my characters take on a persona of their own.

I know some authors will bend over backwards trying to find the exact right name. I do not do that. I believe characterization will be more telling about the character than some name that might have an obscure connotation of 'evil' or 'good' or 'helpful.' For any of these types of names, the writer is counting on his reader having a very similar reference point. That they will get that this name means that. Not to mention that if a writer uses such a name, they may find themselves constrained to keep that character in balance with the connotation. Just doesn't work for me.

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TopaAzul062
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Post by TopaAzul062 »

That's a really good question and a fascinating one as every writer has their own approach. I remember when I wrote a script for an idea I had during summer break from school for a potential manga; in high school at the time. The names I came up with were like regular names but with either a different spelling or pronunciation.

From that point onward, my names would either stem from a current interest/fascination, from a particular theme or based on the type of characters I'm trying to portray. A somewhat recent example would be the characters I wrote about for this text adventure game where the main character's name was inspired by plants and flowers.

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clint_csperry-org
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Post by clint_csperry-org »

I write fantasy fiction. So I have some leeway in naming. Generally, I will look for unusual names where ever I am. I've take a few from the credits in movies, I've taken a few from phone books, but mostly I make them up. I'll put something together that is pronounceable and memorable by taking parts of words around me and putting them together.

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Post by Inkroverts »

I usually look through baby name list online and look for a specific meaning.
But if a name is too original/ unique, I'll hesitate about using it because it may seem pretentious and unrealistic.

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L1th3rl+and
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Post by L1th3rl+and »

Ghoulish, I know, but walking round graveyards is a wonderful source of names. If you see someone walking around your local cemetery with a notebook, it's probably me. I recently came across someone who went through life as Wilhelmina Twaddle - what a great name! Impossible to use outside something like Dickens, of course.
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Post by Kris5911 »

L1th3rl+and wrote:
05 Nov 2019, 05:59
Ghoulish, I know, but walking round graveyards is a wonderful source of names. If you see someone walking around your local cemetery with a notebook, it's probably me. I recently came across someone who went through life as Wilhelmina Twaddle - what a great name! Impossible to use outside something like Dickens, of course.
I love finding names in cemeteries! I found someone called Narcassis (Aunt Cici) Deloach!

I try not to use the same names twice (so hard). And I try to never use a name that's been made famous. I have a list of favored and intriguing names that's been growing for years that I can choose from, but mostly I'll be creating a scene with no name in mind, and then I'll be thinking "This sounds like a Georgiana" or "This sounds like a Patrick."

Sometimes I'll find a name that I haven't seen in a while or at all, and I'll write a story just for that name.

^_^

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Post by anitamills293 »

It's not easy to pick a name. I try to image what kind of persoality the characters has and then I try give him/her a name, usually according nationality and objects

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Post by books_andpoetri »

I use websites like nameberry.com and do my search there. I want my characters' names to have meaning and not just something I thought was cool.

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Post by nfdoughe »

It depends on what I'm writing, but I usually base my names on what they mean. I think it provides another level to what happens in the story when the characters have a specific name even if the readers don't realize what it means.
"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."
~Oscar Wilde

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Post by SirLaddie »

My current novel has 20 characters. I gave most of the characters biblical names because it is an apocalypse theme. Some of the characters, I thought about their personalities I wanted them to have and picked a name that fits their personality. I also didn't want any of the names to start with the same letter or sound alike. It gets confusing if the characters have names that are too much alike.

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Post by SingingGenius05 »

Often, while choosing names for things, I like to simply start typing meaningful words into an online translator. I use a language that uses a lot of the same characters as English and keep going until I get a name that sounds right.
By doing this, I have come up with some pretty cool names.

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