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Stuck on names

AlexanderJohnson

New Member
I'm in the middle of writing a story, and I have come across a writer's block. I can't figure out what names to use for the two main characters in the story. Any thoughts on how to fix this problem?
 

BRN

WTB Forum Mod Powers
As a writer myself I often have problems with names - I've found that where your own imagination isn't enough, referencing is pretty fun. Turk, Cain, Wren, Ivan and Kepfer for me were all named after characters from other stories I've enjoyed.
 

AlexanderJohnson

New Member
I'd feel awkward if I was using used names. I'd like to use original, unique names in the story, but then again, using the resources that I have, using used names might be something that I have to do.
 
A

Ansitru

Guest
Why not browse sites for baby-names?
That's what I do when I need a name for a character: I search until I find one that fits.
 
S

Sar

Guest
Can you describe the two main characters? It would help with finding fitting names if you let us or yourself look at a written description.
 

Ziriliquis

Idiot Schoolboy
Use a random name generator, that usually solves most of my problems. Just keep going until you find something you like.
 

M. LeRenard

Is not French
How about Steve
Oh God help me, I chuckled when I read that.

Anyway, I have a few tricks when it comes to names. I've talked about them before, but it was a while ago so I might as well bring it up again.
Basically, one of my methods is to play word games between languages. As a simple example, there's a minor character in the NaNovel I wrote a few years ago named Erveck. The character is a goat, and the French word for goat is chèvre. Chèvre spelled backwards is Ervehc, so I just replaced the h with a k and flipped the letters to make it a little easier to pronounce, hence Erveck. The other names in that novel are somewhat similar in style to that: the two main characters are Cricket and Scorch, which came from similar permutations, though by now I couldn't possibly replicate them since they were far more complicated than that.
Rule of thumb: don't go overboard. Keep names short and easy to remember. So don't make an elf warrior named Silvenrell Varun Dellerond of Falmoria Grotto, because no one is going to remember that name. Just call him Dell, or something. And never, never use obviously symbolic names. Voltaire could get away with that, chances are you can't. So never Shadow or Vendetta or Raven or anything silly like that. By attempting to be dramatic, you're killing off all the drama.
Hopefully that inspires you a little bit. Names can be fun, and a good name will stick with people a long time, so play around with it a bit. Oh, and think about the characters and match the phonetics of the name to the personality of the character (bright and cheery = short, quick, animated, and so on). That helps a lot, too.
 
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YoruHi

YoruHi
I'd say make up a name based on the character's personality or something. Like, Melody or Harmony or something like that (doesnt have to be exactly that lol) Or like something from a diff language, like Hikari meaning "Light" or something. Thats usually what I do
 

Dreaming

Member
Why not browse sites for baby-names?

I was going to suggest that! But when it comes to picking a name for your character, it's best to establish the character's personality, then decide on what name fits. And it depends on what kinds of names you want. Unique? Average?

Something along the lines of Xavier and Deana, perhaps? It'd be easier for us to suggests names if we knew a little more about the characters.
 

RayO_ElGatubelo

My gif animation doesn't work
Oh God help me, I chuckled when I read that.

Anyway, I have a few tricks when it comes to names. I've talked about them before, but it was a while ago so I might as well bring it up again.
Basically, one of my methods is to play word games between languages. As a simple example, there's a minor character in the NaNovel I wrote a few years ago named Erveck. The character is a goat, and the French word for goat is chèvre. Chèvre spelled backwards is Ervehc, so I just replaced the h with a k and flipped the letters to make it a little easier to pronounce, hence Erveck. The other names in that novel are somewhat similar in style to that: the two main characters are Cricket and Flip, which came from similar permutations, though by now I couldn't possibly replicate them since they were far more complicated than that.
Rule of thumb: don't go overboard. Keep names short and easy to remember. So don't make an elf warrior named Silvenrell Varun Dellerond of Falmoria Grotto, because no one is going to remember that name. Just call him Dell, or something. And never, never use obviously symbolic names. Voltaire could get away with that, chances are you can't. So never Shadow or Vendetta or Raven or anything silly like that. By attempting to be dramatic, you're killing off all the drama.
Hopefully that inspires you a little bit. Names can be fun, and a good name will stick with people a long time, so play around with it a bit. Oh, and think about the characters and match the phonetics of the name to the personality of the character (bright and cheery = short, quick, animated, and so on). That helps a lot, too.

I love the way you come up with names. I'm kind of a bit jealous, actually. And I've come up with some great names myself.
 

jcfynx

Banned
Banned
A baby name site my be a good idea. Many new authors try to make their names "creative." Unless you are Margaret Weiss and writing bad novels about dragons, they just end up sounding corny and detract from the character. Read books by real, actual authors. They use names like real, actual humans have. Those may be a good start.

Oh God help me, I chuckled when I read that.

Perhaps through the power of laughter we can overcome the barriers that separate us.
 

M. LeRenard

Is not French
I love the way you come up with names. I'm kind of a bit jealous, actually. And I've come up with some great names myself.
You could have a lot of fun with that method, I bet, given how many languages you're familiar with.

jcfynx said:
Perhaps through the power of laughter we can overcome the barriers that separate us.
You know everyone in the staff loves you. ;-)
 

Teal

Squirrel
I'd say make up a name based on the character's personality or something. Like, Melody or Harmony or something like that (doesnt have to be exactly that lol) Or like something from a diff language, like Hikari meaning "Light" or something. Thats usually what I do
If you use a name in a different language MAKE SURE THE MEANING IS CORRECT. Otherwise the name you choose could mean somthing bad or unintentionally funny. Unless it's what you're going for it's easy to accidently name your character "rotting corpse".
 

Infinity_Flat

New Member
I've always found flipping through a phone book to be helpful. That is assuming you have access to one; god knows I haven't seen one for several years now.
 

Sundown

New Member
I've found the best way is to figure out what their parents - or whoever named them - was like. How were they named and why? What year is it? (Different 'types' of names were popular in different years.) What sort of image to you want to invoke?

One of my characters has a name she loathes entirely, but to her father its a symbol of a promise he made to her mother before she died. Therefore his actions throughout the story (which my character has trouble forgiving him for) are based on his love for is wife and daughter and his desire to make a future for his child - for all children. So the name is not just a name, it's part of the history of the story.

Like the others said, a description of the characters would be helpful.
 
D

Don

Guest
I will place my vote firmly with online name generators if you're trying to find a name for non-essential characters.

For main characters, I recommend searching up baby names online or finding inspiration (note: inspiration, not appropriation) in the works of fiction that you enjoy. I also recommend that you avoid giving characters the same surnames as (in)famous historical personalities, unless of course you're intending to use that for their character arc or the plot. This is especially egregious if a person from that culture is reading your story, and is suddenly confronted with the index from their school's history textbooks :V

One method I've come up with on my own when world-building is what I like to call "Culture Darts." Simply take a map from an era and scale of your choosing and throw 2-3 darts. Do a bit of research on the nations/cultures that the darts hit, and combine them to form one in your work. It was with this method that I created what I consider my most memorable antagonists, the dastardly Vlacians (Basque/Albanian) and Khandars (Iranian/Occitan).
 
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Bucephalus

New Member
Latin is always a good source. I tend to use the names of stars a lot, too. And then there's good old-fashioned gibberish. If you just push around the sounds that you like, they turn into names sometimes. Vera, Baisir, Fiern, Kostov, and a handful of my other character names all originated as keyboard-punches.
 

AlexanderJohnson

New Member
To be honest, I'm using people's fursonas, I already have one, but the other, I'm waiting on the to come back to me with their fursona name and description. But, I'm now beginning to regret the decision that I made which was a raffle on tumblr for two people's fursonas to be the two main characters. I do however keep the extra people's fursona name and descriptions for later use on later stories because it's just taking too long.
 

AlexanderJohnson

New Member
I do appreciate your help guys. This is one of the reasons of why I love Fa so much, it because there seems to be a wealth of knowledge hidden within each and one of the users of FA. I can't express my gratitude towards you. I know through time, I'll be well loved for the stories that I write, and knowing that you guys are there to help me, makes me undeniably happy.
 
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