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  1. #1
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    Jan 2011
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    What's in a name?

    Okay people how do you get character names?
    I seem to agonise for hours searching for a name but, in reality peoples names are pretty diverse and tend to say nothing about the person. After all most people are not called Max Power.



  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: What's in a name?

    Write the whole story and just put x, y, z or 1, 2, 3 for the speakers. Then when you finish, change the x, y, z into proper names. (don't know if this method actually works... lol)

    Or visit: www.behindthename.com

    Get a dice: write down the six names you hate the most in the world and put a number corresponding them. Then throw the dice and see what number it lands on...

    Google search words: top ten baby names, top ten pet names, top ten girls names, top ten boys names

    Skim through old texts - like from the 1800s - see what character names were used - you can pretty much guarentee those names aren't used much in today's fiction, resurrect a couple

    Look through your old year books, see the variety of people in your year book and maybe nick a name or two, don't nick too many, they might sue you... lol

    Browse through the user listings of online forums and look at all the wacky names that people come up with, then pick three you like and use them

    Read through old legends/myths/plays and see how many Herculeses and Poloniuses you can come up with - that's how Hercule Poirot came about, she was gonna name him Hercules but felt it didn't fit, Hercule fit better...

    If you're gonna use ethnic names, at least try to find real names rather than make up any old random spelling: Peter Smasmopolos sounds like a plausible Greek name but does not mean jack**** in Greek

    Pick a theme: Superman comics have an L.L. theme going (no idea why): Lex Luthor, Lana Lang, Lois Lane, etc...

    If all else fails, take your own name and see how many anagrams you can make out of it - hopefully you have a very long name and can get hundreds of anagrams from it

  3. #3
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    Re: What's in a name?

    If u want tips on how to match a name to a character's personality then I have no idea. Go figure...

  4. #4
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    Re: What's in a name?

    If I'm writing a fictional story set in present day I go to the social security website and pull up the top 100 names given to babies the year the character was born. For fantasy settings I'll warp a common name to make something different but similar to what types of names we see in the real world. Or I'll grab a Celtic baby name book, Swahili or some other language. Sometimes if I get stuck in a fantasy book I'll hop onto the World of Warcraft forums and try to get ideas from what people named their virtual selves.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Re: What's in a name?

    When I write a book with Greek characters - I use Greek names. When I write a book with Americans, I use American names. But the names for each character just come to me, I've never had to figure out what their names are.

  6. #6
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    Re: What's in a name?

    A character's name for me has to stick out unlike any other name. They also have to fit with the person's personality, looks, and everything else. To me, if my character's name doesn't jolt me in some way or just doesn't feel right then I don't use it. It sounds odd, but I pick my character's names like I am picking names for my (unborn) kids.Sometimes I think about the name for a few days and the character. If I decide to use it and that it fits then I start writing. If not and I can't wait to start writing then I will just use an old boring name until I have one figured out. Normally when I do that though I am able to find out the name I want to use within the first page I write.
    “Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.”
    -Joseph Pulitzer

  7. #7
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    Re: What's in a name?

    I come up with the names I use by first figuring out what im writing. If you know what it is about then choose names related to the main idea. Like for instance my stories are mainly about vampires so my characters are like: Akysa Shadow Rose Blood, Salora Ballen, Alexander Cross, Kathlene Baine, and names such as that. The names will probably just come to you if you think of the main idea that you are trying to bring across.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2010
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    48

    Re: What's in a name?

    Well, for one, I hate the name bill. Cripes! he's in my mailbox every day.

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