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I think I'm going to have to write something set in the future or an alternate reality where I can go mad with names. Writing names in the future is easy, you just mix names from different cultures, corrupt them slightly (a good way to is to remove syllables) and go from there. Thing is, my favourite fantasy tale of all time is Stephen King's Dark Tower series, and even then he keeps the names restrained, maybe cos thats got more of a western slant, I dunno.



1/19/2010 #31

Oh, and for everyday names, I just fire up news.google.com, look for some interesting story and mix-n-match two names from there. If I need an ethnic name, I'll look at foreign news.

1/19/2010 #32
Anise Cary

names I'm drawn to: since I tend to stick with realistic fiction I'm drawn to names you might hear walking down the street, names on my student attendance lists, that kind of thing

do you find it hard to pick names? not usually, I think I may be odd in that my character names usually come to me just as i start writing and if they don't I keep a baby names book in my classroom for my students to use when they write so I'll pull it out and browse through it

fave names male: Trevor (my son), Brody, Ethan, Dylan

Fave names female: Ellie, Elizabeth, Lilia, Lynley

1/26/2010 #33

Over the years, I have created a huge list of names. I would look through baby name books, my school directory, and if I met someone with a cool name, I'd write it down. Then, I started doing the same with last names and even place names! My current list is quite a few pages long. If anyone would like a copy, PM me!

1/29/2010 #34

Characters don't even need names to be memorable.

I absolutely love Cormac McCarthy's The Road. (Haven't seen the movie, but I'm sure it sucks.) Throughout that entire novel, it's just "the man" and "the boy." These characters are never given any names, and yet they are still memorable. What they go through, how they deal with it...

I agree with you there. One other thing that comes to my mind besides The Road was this poem, it could be read two different ways here's a bit of it (Anyone lived in a pretty how town by e. e. cummings):

"one day anyone died i guess

(and noone stooped to kiss his face)

busy folk buried them side by side

little by little and was by was"

When you read that it's a bit sad... Until you realise that "anyone" is one character's name and "noone" is another. I'm trying out some things in one story of mine, instead of naming some characters I've given them descriptive nicknames like Bird Nose, Squirrel, Midget etc etc... The main character is a little kid, but I've found myself and my friends still giving people nicknames like that when we don't care enough to ask them their name (Wanker, Pepper, Quentin, Steven Seagal etc etc).

Wanker was a guy who was caught jerking it in the boys bathroom sink, Pepper was a kid with real bad dandruff (name given by my friend who had a cat named Pepper with bad dandruff), Quentin was a guy who we suspected to be gay and that was an effete sounding name that came to mind, Steven Seagal was a chick who looked like (you guessed it) Steven Seagal.

Anyway, when it comes to actual names I don't really go for the whole "well this name means this and this character is that so it fits!". I tend to go for more common names found in every day life (since I prefer realistic stories).

I don't like stories that overdo it with regional names though, like if a story takes place in modern day Ireland or something and they have their main characters named Conchobhar, Deirbhile & Gormlaith. That would annoy the hell out of me because those are not common names, it's like bashing the reader over the head saying "it takes place in Ireland, those are Irish names so it definitely takes place in Ireland". Even though popular names in Ireland are like Daniel, Jack & Sarah.

I use names from people I know, have met, from directories. Basically from everywhere.

My favourite names right now: Thomas, James, Leah & Mara. I'll stop right there since this is a very long post...

2/9/2010 #35
Mizzuz Spock

I use names from people I know, have met, from directories.

Funny you should mention that.

I have a habit of avoiding names of people I know or have met, because for my characters, I have a specific image in mind, and if I name them after someone I know, that image pops up before the image of my character. So it's actually a bit of a pet peeve (I have a lot of those, I'm discovering) and I run away from any name that anyone I know possesses.

2/9/2010 #36
Vulpine Ninja

I avoid naming my characters based on people I've met, that's why I avoid common names. that's why I work my arse off looking for suitable names. It's a habit, okay. I do use a few common names, but usually not sharing them with people I know. If I happen to just met someone with the same name as my character, then it's a coincidence.

2/9/2010 #37
Anise Cary

I usually avoid naming characters after people I know that might at some point read my stuff, I don't want them to think I based the whole character on them. I have been known to use students' names for characters esp when it's a student that annoys me incessantly and the character is equally annoying or has something bad happen to them :)

2/10/2010 #38
I like using unisex names for girls and something mysterious and differnt for dudes. I like the name Cody, Riley ect. for a girl and I like Blake for a dude, I couldn't really come up with anything mysterious for a guy.
3/6/2010 #39

Hey guys, just thought I'd drop in and give my two cents.

What kinds of names are you drawn to?

I'm drawn to unique names. Names that have a meaning behind it that relates to the character; or is the complete opposite of the character's personality. Every now and then, I find myself being drawn to names that are descriptions or common names for something else. For instance: North Star, Jaguar Paw, Night Breeze, et cetera. I also really like Welsh names. Some of them are epic, but they're all quite beautiful; even if I can't pronounce it properly.

Do you often find it hard to pick names?

I tend to think up most of my character names on my own, but I will cross-reference them with other names and origins. I try to match some of my characters with their names – I develop the character first and then pick a name. I'll use a mixture of unique and regular names; so that my story has a nice balance between digestibility and creativity.

Favourite male and female names?

My favourite names would have to a few that I created, and few I remember from movies and novels:

Calantha – (f) – Original invention

Ioan – (m) – Original invention (There is the name Ioanis, though)

Tael – (m) – Original invention (Although, a tael is a Chinese weight of currency)

Eleanor – (f) – Greek: sun ray/shining light

Maud – (f) – Apparently of French origin, it means Powerful battler, although the source wasn't one-hundred percent reliable

Stefan – (m) – Greek: crown

Sullivan – (m) – Gaelic: dark eyes

Euric – (m) – Couldn't find meaning.

That's it. If anyone needs help coming up with names, or just wants someone to bounce ideas off of, PM me and we'll chat.


5/8/2010 . Edited 5/8/2010 #40

What kinds of names are you drawn to?

I tend to like more traditional names. I cringe whenever I hear something with unnecessary y's or way too many syllables long. I guess I'm a bit of a hypocrite, though, because my favorite names tend to go way back.

Do you often find it hard to pick names?

Not usually. I tend to think less in terms of 'what fits the character?' and more toward 'what would their parents pick?' Even if the parents don't play a role in the story, I try to come up with personalities for them to work with. Then, once I have an idea of the type of name I want, I just browse through babynamesworld.com.

Example process, for my story "Tianenmen Squares" - The main character's best friend is a very creative, tough, and outspoken girl. I worked back from that, assuming there should be family tension. I envisioned her mom to be a school secretary who's very straight-laced and her dad a liberal journalist who left while she was still an infant. He wanted to name her something totally wild, but her mother wouldn't agree to it, so they settled for something in the middle: Aubrey.

Favourite male and female names?

I really lean toward historical names.


Robin - Shakespeare

Nell - Shakespeare

Audrey - Shakespeare

Maeve - Celtic mythology (originally spelled Medb)


Lear - Shakespeare

Nathan - Biblical

Jacob - Biblical

5/10/2010 . Edited 5/10/2010 #41

I'm drawn to all sorts of names as long as they're not the ones that intentionally spelt 'differently' to sound more unique. Examples of the latter include Ravyn, Krystal, Kat, etc. Aimee is one of the few exceptions to that (Blame Damien Rice on that one).

I don't really find it hard to pick names. If it feels right, I'll use it.

My favorite male and female names always change but at the moment, James and Kahlen float my boat.

6/5/2010 #42

Naming your characters is sometimes quite a changellege. I usually name acording to the place and time they live. It would be quite strange to hear a girl named Sam in the Middle Ages right? Or a American girl named Yuki, which is a Japanese name, right?

What kind of names are you drawn to?

Hm... I mostly like names that are always 'in'. Names that can be used to any period of time. And I recently discovered I had a weakness for old and ellegant names. Sometimes I name my main female lead after an old name that is actually used for guys ever thought it sounds girlish! For example one of my characters is named Louise. A name I like and that I thought it would suite her fine, since it seemed quite ellegant and lady-like to me until I found it was actually a name used for many kings... ups... Or Jean, the exact same story. Do this names sound girlish only to me?

Do you often find it hard to pick names?

Not really... Once I found a nice sounding name I use it. Alo I like my characters name corespond with it's appereance. For example it's hard to imgine a girl with the name Max as lady-like and ellegant. Don't you think? Or a boy named Sam (this name sounds very girlish to me since WAY to many tomboys have this name) as weak and sickish.

Favorite male and female names?

Favourite female name: Alice (this name is way too cute even through it's not mine), Elizabeth, Christine, Rebecca, Andreea and Daniela.

Favoutite male names: Cody, Arthur, Peter and Andrei.

6/20/2010 #43
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