Character Names...

Discussion in 'Writing' started by LAJ, Dec 16, 2001.

  1. LAJ

    LAJ Registered User

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    Hello all,

    Does anyone else here worry that they'll write a book, then find a book has already been written like it?
     
  2. Bardos

    Bardos Ancient Member

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    Doesn't seem to bother Jordan, Brooks, Eddings, and others. So why would it concern you? [​IMG]

    Anyway, I try to be as original as I can everytime I write. Now, if I later find, that something like it has already been writen, well, that's life... *shrug*
     
  3. LAJ

    LAJ Registered User

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    Thanks. I usually have a quick search using google to see if any names have already been used [​IMG]
     
  4. Penumbra

    Penumbra New Member

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    I'm with Bardos on this one. Fortunately, I became enamored with Tolkien at an early age and became a fanatic nomenclaturist. Rather than repeat someone else's term or name, I prefer to coin a word if I have to, anything but to voice another's conception. For me, that is a criteria of being original and creative. Being well read also has distinct advantages.
     
  5. matthewajg

    matthewajg New Member

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    Be informed...or as informed as you can be anyway! With a genre growing faster than weeds in spring, it is hard to keep up with all developments and new published material. I usually don't sweat whether my story has been told before...especially in fantasy, we are all using similar motifs and legends, so a level of "sameness" is a constant threat. A well told story, with finely written prose and dialogue, will sing true, even if you use those pointed-eared mongrels of fantasy (dare I say it, the elves!). As for names...I have worked quite hard at finding titles which have not been used in the genre before. But again, common themes creep up. Do a search for titles containing common fantasy terms like: king, queen, knight, royal, sword, wizard, magic, ring, wand, shadows, legacy, dawn, twilight, dragons...the list goes on, and you will find HUNDREDS of books containing one or more of these words. On my latest novel, I opted for a somewhat "nonconventional" title which has a double meaning in the story. But look at many succesful (commercially) novels, and you will find fantasy "cliches" in the title.

    As for character names...now there is another story altogether! I am always finding some great name in a lexicon of Old English or Arabic names, or even creating one of my own, only to find it used by an author already published! Again, this is a constant danger in a genre (fantasy) where the source material is linked. I have a character named Myr in one of my novels...GRRM has a country named Myr in his ASoFaI novels! Good grief!

    As for creatures, monsters and non-human races...I do try and create some "original" creatures for my novels, but occasionally the story will be served better by using an ogre than some derivation of my own creation. By utilizing familiar races and monsters (i.e. dwarves and dragons) the writer can use the preconcieved notions their readers have to their advantage...or tinker with these fantasy favorites and put a new spin on the old. But just because a novel is populated with Grimkin and Skreel doesn't make it better or more interesting than one with dragons and trolls. Good writing is good writing, just avoid common pitfalls and use what YOUR STORY needs...no one has trademarked dragons or wizards (yet)!
     
  6. Qin

    Qin Banned

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    I'm blatantly copying this from a post a friend made on another board, whose topic coincides with this thread.

    Since this has degenerated into a discussion of "epic" fantasy, I might as well contribute my uninvited opinion.

    Wheel of Time: I tried to like it. I really did. I actually enjoyed the first book, and some of the characters managed to hold my interest... but Iesu bloody Christatos, how many times can a person read five straight pages of Faile pussywhipping Perrin, and Perrin scratching his ass and saying that Mat would know exactly what to do? To those of you who protest that WoT has literary merit, I offer this:
    http://www.geocities.com/brokenwheeloftime/

    It's basically WoT done in Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style - the text of the book is interspersed with shameless mockery. Here's an excerpt for those of you too lazy to click the link:

    Born below the ever cloud-capped peaks that gave the mountains their name, the wind blew east, out across the Sand Hills, once the shore of a great ocean, before the Breaking of the World. Down it flailed into the the Two Rivers, into the tangled forest called the Westwood,

    TOM: By people with no creativity whatsoever.
    CROW: It blew into the Tree Forest!
    JOEL: Over the Water River!
    CROW: And on into House City!

    and beat at two men walking with a cart and horse down the rock-strewn track called

    JOEL: The Rock-Strewn Track!

    the Quarry Road.
     
  7. An8el

    An8el New Member

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    Yes, I once had a dream that seemed truly original. It was a kind of passion play where the tribe performed their history. It included ideas such as interspecies communication, geological earth changes/massive ocean flooding, along with group dreaming during human hibernation. My actual dream didn't have any obvious characters, but a history, culture, songs, medium and message.
    Actually, my town performed the dream in a May festival ritual that year and characters emerged. But I always wondered if I should do something more with it. Write it into a story, play or start a cult with it.

    Then I ran across "The Kin of Ata are Waiting for You." It was enough of a parallell in many ways to make me wonder if that person hadn't dreamed my story!

    Sometimes the best stories are the ones we know the most about. Getting stories from dreams is my favorite way to make a story go from the personal to the universal. I'm sure what's important is how you tell the story, not what the story is. Look at how interesting Shakespeare's stories still are, done in a million different variations.
     
  8. SusF

    SusF Who me?

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  9. estranghero

    estranghero Lord Deceiver

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    Hey Qin!

    Funny stuff! I remember watching some episodes of MST and damn, it was really laugh-a-second!

    This really comes close to it, too! [​IMG]