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Two Claws
January 8th, 2002, 09:52 AM
I find that when I'm writing a short story, one of the things that gives me a real problem is names. I can usually mash two words together into a name, but I'm not a big fan of that. I'm trying to work with dictionaries from other languages (Welsh is really good) but that only comes out with marginally better names. Anyone got any advice?

January 8th, 2002, 10:06 AM
Phone book. Whenever I want to generate a name I pull out the White Pages. Just flip around a little, you should find some good 'ethnic' names, sometime you'll end out mashing together a few different parts. Usualy works for me... Or I'll pull out a street map and look through the street names, you get some cool sounding names that way too...


January 8th, 2002, 10:19 AM
A good baby name book. The ones I've seen will have a good deal of information about the name, including alternate spellings and country of origin.

January 8th, 2002, 09:44 PM

January 10th, 2002, 01:27 AM
Try 'EboN', Everchanging book of Names.

Here is the link: http://ebon.uni.cc/

You can download it there. It is really useful, especially if you need a lot of names (like I do for roleplaying).
Just take a look.


January 10th, 2002, 03:49 PM
It depends on what genre your writing in. I write mostly fantasy, so I like perusing history books for names. Sometimes I'll use exactly what I come across, if it's not a well-known name, or create a variation of it on my own. Mostly I just use the ol' imagination. My first rule is simply that it has to sound good to my ear. If I don't like it and if it doesn't fit the culture I've created in my mind it's gone.

Martin Edward Stephenson

January 17th, 2002, 06:23 AM
Usually, I just use my imagination, but that don't work I simply use a quite "normal" name and write it backwards. Some names sound terrible that way, but some others sound pretty good. (Maria becomes Airam, for example.) Maybe it's a stupid method, I don't know... And even though it should be easy, it can be a lot of work to find a name that sounds good that way.

Gary Wassner
January 18th, 2002, 05:23 AM
i use many different methods. spelling friends names backwards, combining initials of people i know or combining names or simply making them up, which is really the best way for me. i agree with martin. the name must suit the character's persona in my mind. that, of course, does not mean that it will evoke the same feelings in the reader, but hopefully, if the characterization is good, it will.
last year, i wandered through versailles outside of paris with a digital recorder and i spoke into it about 30 names that appeared on busts in one of the halls. it was great! i did the same at the prado in madrid. whichever city you live in, there must be a museum that has a medieval section. browse through it. you never know.

February 11th, 2002, 11:51 AM
I steal names from computer games, history, some off the top of my head, some i take latin words that suit the character and turn them into a name, it depends really, to be honest i don't think the name is too important as long as it is functional i.e. is short or can be easily shortened and doesn't sound totally naff.

February 11th, 2002, 04:13 PM
Just saw this topic.

If you wanna see how a master like Robert E. Howard created names like Conan, go see the other topic by Carmichael ("Throwing his hat" or something like that) where I posted a link to an essay on Howard and where on Hyboria he got his names.

I'd post the link here but I'm too lazy to go back. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif