Names are my weakness, my kryptonite. I would spend my "writing time" hung up on names and before I know it other responsibilities call and I have to stop "writing". What I have done to offset this is put place holders instead of names. ("Ax" is a human male, "Ay" is a female, "Bx" is another male in the same story, "ElfAx" is an elf male etc.) By the time I have written a page or two it looks like a sophmore algebra equation. It also gives my work an impersonal feel. Sometimes I just ask friends and family for names or I use a character naming source book.
But the story I have just started developing needs the help of people like you. If you are in this forum reading this post odds are you can help me.
This "first germ" (as Mr. Tolkien once wrote on the top of his notes when starting LOTR) I am beginning to grow is a family saga spanning a little more than a century in America (maybe more, who knows?). The thing is they are elves. ( I know, it sounds campy but what speculative fiction doesn't sound campy when trying to explain it in one sentence?)
In any event as the generations become more "americanized" and diluted through marriage their names take different shapes. What are some names that might be used in society today but have a subtle hint of the "fantastic"?
Warning: I will steal any name you give me if appropriate for the characters. :D
January 17th, 2005, 10:23 AM
Dude you've done half the job yourself already.
Why not have Ax and Ay to represent the genders so Jon becomes Jonax and Mary becomes Maray and so on and so forth. It's only one family so you won't have a million Ax and Ay names.
... they may be too strange, are you after real names, or ones that are completely original?
These would work for the early generations coming to America but I think in the 1950's or even now the poor elf children in elementary school would get ripped a new one.
January 17th, 2005, 12:26 PM
Where does it say in the what you must do in fantasy writing manual that you must use made up names....
The very fact you are writing a fantasy story does not mean your names has to be fantasy... you can use "normal" names i.e. english, spanish, welsh, etc... etc... the most important thing is that the name you chose suits your character or creates an impression you want to create about your character...
January 17th, 2005, 01:15 PM
Don't forget that many immigrant families had their names changed or 'americanized' at Ellis Island. Some were misspelled, others to sound more Christian. So many of your immigrant elvish families may have very human/christian names. Did people in this fantasy world know Elves were immigrating?
January 17th, 2005, 06:29 PM
here is my technique.
Close your eyes, randomly type letters then rearrange some to make a name.
Example- eivnext, That doesnt make much sense but if you change it to Evinext you have a name. This one isnt good but I have come up with a few good ones.
January 17th, 2005, 11:40 PM
In days long ago, well, a few years ago, I used to find interesting words in huge dictionaries and other sources, write them in a notebook, and when I was writing and needed a name, I went to the notebook, spelled one of the interesting words wrong or add it to another interesting word, and named my character.
I learned to do a variation on the Erma Bombeck method of naming a child, she suggests when you think you have a name you like, go to the back porch, yell the name at the top of your lungs at least ten times, if you still like it, it's a keeper. :)
In the writing world, if you are naming a major character you will be typing it, a lot. Try typing a paragraph where you use the name at least ten times (not good form, but useful). If you can spell it the same ten times in a row, and still like it, keep it.
--I always liked "Withone", but never found a character to fit it.
January 18th, 2005, 12:29 AM
Sub zero, your method doesn't work if you touch type anyway.
You know there are fantasy name generators on the net somewhere.
But the very best names come in on spam. You can have Delores Dripper if you want.
January 18th, 2005, 06:59 AM
I always found the best names to be in foreign languages, a bit like Hol suggested. Below is a link I use, its an english/greek/latin translator :D
So if you type in a word in english it comes back with translations, for example type in foreigner and you get some good ones like: