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Names

yiran

New member
Names are an often overlooked part in writing, often assigned to just whatever the author has in mind without too much thought (well, at least in amateur writing).

How do you create your names? Are they words that mean something in English and symbolic of the name's owner? Or do you use Google Translate to find a fancy name that is meaningful in another language? Or do you forgo meanings altogether and just pick something that sounds cool? Or do you just opt for real life names?
 

Phantom

Uh, I didn't do it.
Depends on the story really. Since I mostly write in the realm of fanfictions the names are already there. For original characters it depends on who the character is. A lot of times my names are references for who they are in the story, or real life references. I have a character in my Percy Jackson fic, the main OC Jacob Dvorak. Dvorak is an old family name, Jacob was the name of a long time dead relative that died in WWII, which is when the fic takes place.

Revak from my Skyrim story is named in the Dragon Language from Skyrim. 'Revak' means 'sacred', an allusion to his godly true self. Malik means 'king' in Arabic, an allusion to who he is, and 'Aventus' is an in universe reference to one of his affliations, and 'Cato' is a reference to Roman history with the stories of Cato the Elder and Cato the Younger, an allusion to his relationship with his father.
 

Minish

*
Pronoun
they
Mostly I just choose random real-world names (since I've been writing mostly real-world things lately!), because idk I'd rather the name be the least interesting part of a character than the most. And wow, people google translate for names?? Don't......

That's just for novel prose, though! I guess for roleplaying I tend to go for a more interesting name, because that's just how it is (and I roleplay animals, so).
 
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Tailsy

if the nineth lion ate the sun.
Pronoun
she
I always pick symbolic names. That fit the culture I'm writing in, obviously, but adding meaning everywhere is fun!
 

Flora

local hellion
Pronoun
they/he/ey
I used to do meaningful names but I decided later that I'd just use random names instead.

(relatedly: using google translate for names is a tad silly! If you want a name that's meaningful http://www.behindthename.com/ is pretty good for that, since you can search by meaning!)
 

hopeandjoy

yan ya yan ya yaa iii yaaa
Personally, I use meaningful names (Acacia, Amanda, Rei), names that don't mean anything (Aaron, Samson, Christina), theme names normally colors (Bleó, Aka, Rosa), and nonsense (Zomi, Sand, Sek).

Depends on the story/how recently they were created.
 

norblarchoop

Always~learning
Pronoun
any
I pick one name which symbolizes something, and don't worry about the rest. And did I mention that I make them all up out of gibberish?
 

Butterfree

Still loves Joltik, though!
Staff member
Pronoun
she/her
There is an Icelandic name generator out there on the Internet. It is hilarious. It has absolutely no idea what makes a masculine or feminine name in Icelandic but confidently splits them by gender anyway, and it keeps mixing up different names in ridiculous ways. Imagine an English name generator generating "Kathedaisy" for men and "Peterachel" for women. (EDIT: Found it. Not that it's going to mean much to any of you.)

I just name my characters the first real, boring, normal name that pops into my head. Since names in real life aren't relevant to people's character, I always find it a bit fake when every character in a story has a super meaningful name, and special snowflake names generally just feel like something normal parents wouldn't actually name a child.
 

Tomboy

I think they should have a Barbie with a buzz cut.
I don't write (or read) too much, but when I do, I love names that have a meaning behind them in mythology or some exotic language.
 

sv_01

Witch of Light
I don't actually write stories much, but there are some name Ideas I've already come up with.

Well, if it's an alien or elf or something, I make up a name that I think suits the character's species. If it's a human... I don't know. Sometimes it's a plain name that comes up my mind, sometimes it's a reference to something that relates to that person. Might be a name with the right associations around it, one whose actual meaning relates to the character, or one that just sounds like something related. Or just an existing name that has the right sound for that person.
 

Minish

*
Pronoun
they
I just name my characters the first real, boring, normal name that pops into my head. Since names in real life aren't relevant to people's character, I always find it a bit fake when every character in a story has a super meaningful name, and special snowflake names generally just feel like something normal parents wouldn't actually name a child.
It's actually really, really fun when a meaningful character has a totally mundane name! Though I gueeess I'm quite fond of real names that have kind of died out of use, e.g. a Hermione-type situation. But I mean, then you have to come up with a reason as to why their parents did that (usually I just end up going with 'they're embarrassingly dated people').
 

Scootaloo

spooky? do you think i'm spooky?
I just usually use a name generator, or I think up of names that I like! I also use Babynames.com because they've got hundreds of names with their meanings and the heritage/country/etc. it's popular in!
 

Momo(th)

I swear I'm cool you have to believe me
Pronoun
she
I just pick random names for OC characters. Using names to judge anyone's personality in real life is obviously not a good idea.

Unless the universe is, of course, My Little Pony.
 

kyeugh

onion witch
Pronoun
she/her
Hi! I'm going to revive this thread, because it's really interesting and I want to post in it! I hope no one minds.

I actually give my characters both meaningful and average names, simultaneously. For example, one of my characters was originally able to use ice magic was named Blake, because it sounds like flake, as in snowflake. Of course I scrapped this after Frozen came out, and he has Aurora powers now; i considered naming him Boris after that, because of Borealis, but he kept his old name.

I also had an intellectual character who, and the whole story was about his studies in the field of magic's effects on genetics; his name was Booker, since he was really book-smart! My names are usually pretty obvious like that.

I tend to spend a lot of time on my character's names, and oftentimes they're subtle references that no one else will understand. Real-world people, past characters, other book characters, personality traits, and name definitions all are things that go into my character's names (but not always all of them).
 

I liek Squirtles

sobble squad
Pronoun
he
If I write in Spanish, I'll try to pick at least one uncommon name, like Epifanio or Flavio. Once I have that down, I just base them around people I know. I haven't written much, so I don't have a set way of naming my characters. I guess I try to go as realistic as possible since most of my stories are everyday stuff.
 

Tailsy

if the nineth lion ate the sun.
Pronoun
she
I tend to just pick names that I particularly like - it's not like I'm going to be naming any children with them, so I might as well! I do love symbolic names (I'm an English major, I love anything that means I can discuss it for 2000 words), though, so I'll sometimes do that. I had a deer-boy character a while ago named Roscoe, for example. Even though Roscoe is way too cool-sounding a name for a deer boy lmao
 

kyeugh

onion witch
Pronoun
she/her
I also use Babynames.com because they've got hundreds of names with their meanings and the heritage/country/etc. it's popular in!
I actually do this too! It can be really helpful, especially since you can just put a name origin in the search and it'll give you all the names that come from that root. Which is where I got Blake from! Not only does it sound like "flake," but it also comes from blanc, which means white! And snow is white.
 
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