How do we come up with names for fictional characters?

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ALynnPowers
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Re: How do we come up with names for fictional characters?

Post by ALynnPowers » 22 Dec 2014, 01:08

MichaelMcManus wrote:In my two-book series that spans a forty year period, the names range from very old fashioned (Alma, Oscar, Helen, Ann and Patrick) to more modern names (Erika, Abby, Kirk, Mandy and Taylor). The names have to fit the time.
It drives me crazy when a name doesn't fit the time! Like there will be someone my age or older with a really "new" name... and I get annoyed because I know that no parents in their right mind would have named their kid that when I was a baby. It really takes away from the enjoyment of the story, I think! 8)

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kezzstar24
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Post by kezzstar24 » 22 Dec 2014, 03:45

I have several methods of naming, drawing from either random name generators or people I know. I like to mix it up.

Although for my latest one my characters sort of named themselves. I was just writing my first draft when one of the main characters said "My name is Belle." I was just like "Okay then, you can be Belle." The other characters got there names in a similar fashion, although a few had be randomly generated.

I really need to be locked up lol

EDIT: Just as a side note, when I started self-publishing (probably shot myself in the foot there) I hired someone to draw a frame from each chapter to go at the beginning of the chapter. When I first saw my characters in front of me I knew they had all gotten the right names. Belle looks like a Belle, Charlie looks like a Charlie, Peter looks like a Peter, Daniel looks like a Daniel etc.

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Brandi Noelle
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Post by Brandi Noelle » 27 Oct 2017, 00:42

I let the names come to me. I find if I don't focus on it too hard, a name will naturally come to mind. It's usually spot-on. I have had a couple of times where the name was perfect for the character, but too similar to another character's name. For example, my main character called her grandmother "Nonna," but then there was another character I had named "Nora." She was such a Nora, too...it was the perfect name for her and I was attached. But I could see where the reader could get confused by the names being too close. I finally settled on changing "Nora" to "Meara," but I'm still not thrilled with it. She will always be Nora to me.

Sometimes I will figure out what year the character was born (or thereabouts) and I will look up the most popular baby names for that year. That can help in naming a character. I have also used online name generators. Behind the Name is a great website that allows you to choose a character's ethnicity and it will suggest culturally appropriate names. I used the website a lot when writing a story that took place in Ireland, and it helped me to name my characters authentic Irish names, while avoiding the names that were too complicated to pronounce or read.

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Post by Sushan » 19 Jun 2018, 14:24

using common names is what I prefer. Otherwise reader will find it quite difficult to relate the parts and characters of the story. I had that experience with the book My Trip to Adele
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AMagnificentAmberson
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Post by AMagnificentAmberson » 27 Jun 2018, 19:10

Some names just come to me as soon as I think of the character.

At other times I've used baby name lists and done things like opened encyclopedias for large lists of names or
looked at Facebook or Pinterest.

Sometimes I have no qualifications for the name except that it feels right, while at others, I'll want it to fit some specific expectation. Right now, I'm basing a bunch of short stories on people from the Bible, so I want all the characters' names to begin with the same letter as the people I'm basing the story on.

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MedleyLORE
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Post by MedleyLORE » 30 Jun 2018, 13:40

I would like to know how to do that too. I have the worst form of naming things, like a child naming there puppy “doggie” or their fish “fishy”. I normally go to my brother or go on to a site, ask for a full name, I would give a time period, and a country or location. There are always people eager to mark anything when given the chance. I use Deviant art for random selection.
They never fail to give me a mountain. I have a booklet filled with names I like from those few times I asked.

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Post by pricklypurple » 03 Jul 2018, 08:38

I usually try to come up with something unique or fun-sounding to me, but if as the character developsI find the name doesn't fit anymore, I change it.

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Post by StarkidStarling » 03 Jul 2018, 09:13

I usually spend more time researching character names than anything else. It has to fit the theme, time period, personality, not be another famous fictional character's name, etc. This is why my stories never get very long; I over think every little detail.

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Post by Moray_001 » 20 Aug 2018, 13:04

Well, I sometimes combine real life names. Or sometimes the names just pop into my head. If I’m really stuck, I use a character name generator. Some websites have those.

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Post by Khrysalis » 09 Jan 2019, 19:35

One of my weirder hobbies is that I collect names. I love names; they have power. There's no possession that one can have than a good name. And I must say that it's a sad thing when a person has to go about life saddled with a name that's not very good. Like "Wilmur" or "Olga".

Not only do I collect existing names, but sometimes I'll put together sounds that I think are nice. However, I will only use them as a name if it's easy to read and pronounce. I'll spend a good deal of time mulling over a new character's name, on what seems to suit him or her.

Sometimes, though, I will deliberately give a character a name that doesn't suit him at all! For example, I have a reoccurring character in my novel who is a huge, muscle-bound behemoth of a man and I named him "Francis". Because he doesn't look like a fellow who would be named Francis. At all.

The irony appeals to me sometimes.
“Truth wasn't something you went out and found. It was wide and vast and deep and unending, and all you could hope to see was a tiny part of it. And to see that part and to mistake it for the whole was to make of Truth a lie.”
― Margaret Weis

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xinyi16
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Post by xinyi16 » 10 Jan 2019, 03:22

Sometimes that really have some weird but sounds good name.

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elissasmart
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Post by elissasmart » 14 Jan 2019, 04:03

My method is mixing syllables of different names, for example Michael + Dereck = Dechael

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