Author Topic: Naming help for characters/locations.  (Read 1762 times)

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Offline Cody999

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Naming help for characters/locations.
« on: September 05, 2016, 22:15 »
I have started writing a fantasy book and everything is going fine apart from the fact that most character and place names are currently just placeholders. This has really started to bug me and I want to think of names for everything before I just write more placeholder names.

One of my issues is that I don’t know if I can get away with just calling the five major nations in the book by really generic names. The nations are currently being called the Alliance, the Federation, the Empire, the Monarchy and the Republic. Do you think it is OK to refer to places like this or should I think of a name for each nation.

Also feel free to randomly suggest character/place names that you might think fit in a medieval-fantasy setting.
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Offline SirBlaziken

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Re: Naming help for characters/locations.
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2016, 22:40 »
I think the nation names are fine as I believe there was another series that did something pretty similar (Legend by Marie Lu I believe). As for character names, I won't be of much help there.
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Offline The Hooded Trainer

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Re: Naming help for characters/locations.
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2016, 23:58 »
Yeah, as sirblaziken said, those names are fine. You probably dont want to try too hard with this kind of thing, otherwise the names might start sounding forced and unnatural.

Now, im not great at naming things myself, so maybe take my advice with a pinch of salt, but generally i stay away from the made-up names that most high fantasies seem to use. They take too much time to come up with, if youre not good at it they usually end up sounding like nonsense, it can make it difficult for the reader to keep all the characters straight in their head, and sometimes it can even cause pronunciation problems.

Rather, i tend to go for relatively normal names, although ones that you dont necessarily hear everyday. Biblical names can be a good choice, since a lot of them are old-fashioned and arent really used much anymore. For surnames there are certain words that always sound good - you could have them rooted in nature - birds, seasons, types of tree, that sort of thing. Generally i like using surnames that double up as nouns - in the past ive used sky, west, summers, tale, stuff like that. Basically i think up the first name, then try out a bunch of words with some loose connection to the character until i find a fullname that really clicks.

Like i said though, take this with a pinch of salt. I mean, ive written entire stories before remembering that surnames are a thing that i needed to include. Really just find a method that works for you and go from there.

Offline Cody999

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Re: Naming help for characters/locations.
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2016, 00:19 »
Who could possibly forget surnames. (Apart from me.) I'm gonna say that only main characters need surnames so it is less of an issue that I forgot people had more than one name.
I might just try to ignore the fact that seeing all the placeholder names makes me go crazy and try to finish the story first.
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Offline The Hooded Trainer

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Re: Naming help for characters/locations.
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2016, 00:24 »
Who could possibly forget surnames. (Apart from me.) I'm gonna say that only main characters need surnames so it is less of an issue that I forgot people had more than one name.

Honestly, it was the first thing id ever written and when i had the three main characters introduce themselves to each other in the first chapter, it felt unnatural to include surnames. Then i just kind of forgot about them altogether and before i knew it i was twenty chapters in and not a single character had a last name.

I might just try to ignore the fact that seeing all the placeholder names makes me go crazy and try to finish the story first.

That is genuinely the best idea. Finish the first draft first, worry about names in the second draft. I find the best way to get through the first draft is to just write until its done, then go back over it and apply actual thought to the bits that need it.

Offline SirBlaziken

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Re: Naming help for characters/locations.
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2016, 02:16 »
Biblical names can be a good choice, since a lot of them are old-fashioned and arent really used much anymore. For surnames there are certain words that always sound good - you could have them rooted in nature - birds, seasons, types of tree, that sort of thing.

This is a pretty good tip for naming imo. This or you can just go through some other fantasy series of the same type for a little inspiration if you're really having trouble.
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Offline The Shrub Dragon

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Re: Naming help for characters/locations.
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2016, 07:30 »
Biblical is great - careful not to be libellous. Ancient Greek and Roman are good too as long as you steer away from the obvious e.g. zeus, poseidon.

Otherwise, find variations of common names based on meanings - not Alice as Alys, but consider the variations on the name Mary (sea of bitterness): Mariam, Miriam, Marion, Marianne... etc. Use Behind the Name to find common names and then trace their names back to their root for something archaic e.g. my name is Alice and the root to my name is Adalheidis, Rose's is Hrododeis etc.


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Offline The Hooded Trainer

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Re: Naming help for characters/locations.
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2016, 10:53 »

Otherwise, find variations of common names based on meanings - not Alice as Alys, but consider the variations on the name Mary (sea of bitterness): Mariam, Miriam, Marion, Marianne... etc. Use Behind the Name to find common names and then trace their names back to their root for something archaic e.g. my name is Alice and the root to my name is Adalheidis, Rose's is Hrododeis etc.

Ooo, now that I like. Might have to try that out sometime

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Re: Naming help for characters/locations.
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2016, 12:40 »
plunder less popular Mythology i.e. polynesian, mesopotamian, babylonian, african, etc. for names. maybe avoid hawaiian cos pokemon sun/moon is doin that right now.

also regarding names, you prolly know this already but try to use a different First letter for each. that way even if they dont remember the name they know which letter it begins with cos theres nothin worse than a book or w/e where theres like, five or six S names or P names.
           

Offline Cody999

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Re: Naming help for characters/locations.
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2016, 00:58 »
Thanks for the help everyone. I have spent a lot of time procrastinating using Behind the Name to look for cool names and plundering the large collection of myth books that were gathering dust on the shelves.

Edit: Gathering dust and spiders apparently. I'm not a fan of spiders so I guess that i'll just stick to the internet.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2016, 01:23 by Cody999 »
Sup ~ I RP and stuff.
Also called Cody on err... pretty much everything.
When I play Pokemon I follow my personal Rule: I can only use Each Pokemon once across all games that I can transfer Pokemon across. I have used 108 different Pokemon I think.