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February 6th, 2003, 08:15 AM
How do you fellow writers choose names for your characters? And what kind of names are acceptable in a story?

Is it best to choose names for characters according to their races? Or just something that you think sounds nice...

I for one make up names as I go along. I hit random buttons on the keyboard, and see if sounds OK. But I want to change that, because a good story IMO should have names that have a history behind them...

February 6th, 2003, 09:49 AM
I tend to stick to real world names, unless I'm writing about another race or some exotic culture.

For anyone who gets stuck, there's a few name generators out there..like this one...


February 6th, 2003, 01:47 PM
Names.... Hmmmmm....

Well, I wrote one book with the names of the three main races totally different. One was used welsh names, one English, one made up, though the made up ones had to have a moorish feel to them.

I tend to use a lot of old Anglo saxon, Celtic and Nordic names in some stories.

Also common words joined together like Stormist etc

My latest effort got a lot of criticism on another forum, where I put a few sample chapter up. I had used modern names for my characters on purpose. But folks were not having it, a fantasy story should have strange names one said. My answer was "Why?"

February 6th, 2003, 01:58 PM
Here's a little hint:

Try not to give your main characters names that end with 's'.

When you use that name in a plural form it can be really redudant to the reader.

For example:

Chris's Sis's

That was just a little something I picked up in a writing handbook. I don't think it always applies, but I have noticed that I often become annoyed with characters who do have names ending in 's'.

Also, I dislike it when writers use reallly long names that I can't even imagine pronouncing. When I come accross a name like Zipsadfh my eyes tend to skip over it and my brain never associates that particular character with a name at all.

I would also recommend using a baby name book or the awesome link that pcarney gave.

I, Brian
February 6th, 2003, 03:19 PM
I use the ancient worlds of Greece and Rome as a focus for names (especially the latter). Often I will try to invent names that sound like corrupted real names, with the Roman suffix -us replaced by a more Greek -os. So a Lucius would become a Lucios.

In "Chronicles of Empire" itself I used a few corrupted real names, such as for charioteers based on real historical Roman charioteers (rendered as Musclosios and Scorpios, for example) - and even made a little in-joke using the name Procoprios.

February 7th, 2003, 10:40 AM
I think about the culture, and make up names that I believe reflect it. In general, I will sketch out a dozen or so names for each major culture I have in a book, so that I can stay consistent if I add a character. Some are real world type names-- Morgan being one of my major characters, others are common feeling, but a bit different -- Halnan and Taire being two other major characters in my best work, and finally others, from lands afar have more interesting names -- such as Davan 'av Carpea, one of my favorite characters, or Mugwort 'na Crispin -- another fun fellow.
Creating names is really part of the fun. The name has to sort of 'sing' and is part of the characterization, really setting the tone.
Example: Morgan, he is a leader in the frigid clan lands of the north, with jet black hair pulled into a warriors not, and icy blue eyes, he is the image of confidence and comptetence, he is a brooding figure, but capable of joy and laughter, everything a Morgan should be... Davan 'av Carpea is a ranking officer in the military of a southern land, swarthy and tall, whip thin and dangerous, his thin moustache neatly oiled. Mugwort 'na Crispin is from the same place as Davan, however as an aged educator in the University of Ancient Learning, he is brilliant, but unkempt, his robes soiled, his bearing hunched and rushed. His hair is whispy and grey, long and disheveled. He has the look of one who may have been imposing in his manner when young, but is now reduced, tired, and harried.
Anyhow, as you can see, the name just needs to 'fit'. Put time into it, and don't try to be too crazy, and copy others, or change them slightly (Aragorn = Aranorn type stuff).

February 9th, 2003, 11:06 AM
Just found a site on the Internet - it is about real world names, but with names from all over the world - probably a lot of names that people won't even know exists and therefore won't recognize. What the names means, where they come from, how to pronounce them, links to other websites and lot of other stuff. Quite useful if you can't (or won't) come up with all the names you need from your own brain, or want help when it comes to names and culture - how the names change from culture to culture, for example.