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Name Central

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Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:59 pm
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Rosendorn says...

If you need a name for your character, or have tips for finding/figuring out names for characters, post here!

And if you're considering multiple names, go through for all the techniques listed here to see if any help before posting. :)

Also, always remember you know your character best! It's rather difficult for the site to pick names for your character, if they only exist in your mind.

If you want quick help, please remember to provide the following:

1- Nationality of the character (applies to fantasy and science fiction as well! If you've based your world on a specific place that can and will influence the names. If you've invented a language, that also influences the names)

2- Time period (names change over time)

3- A few other names that you've already used so we can get an idea what sort of sounds you like
A writer is a world trapped in a person— Victor Hugo

Ink is blood. Paper is bandages. The wounded press books to their heart to know they're not alone.

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Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:13 am
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Idraax says...

I wrote my characters first before deciding on a name.
Spoiler! :
It's ok to go a couple of pages without naming your characters. I went two with mine.
Then, I didn't look at naming lists or anything like that. I just picked what sounded right for that character and the name stuck. So my tip is go with instinct. :D
Check these out please! :)
Will review for food thread

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Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:13 am
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Jas says...

I wrote 10k words before I decided on names. Then I wrote 2k more before changing them.

xD Remember that nothing is permanent. This is your story.
I am nothing
but a mouthful of 'sorry's, half-hearted
apologies that roll of my tongue, smoothquick, like 'r's
or maybe like pocket candy
that's just a bit too sweet.


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Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:02 am
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Twit says...

Be very careful when picking a name, because it's not easy to change it afterwards. Years ago, I called one of my character "the Raven" and I really regret that now, but I can't think of her in any other way.
"TV makes sense. It has logic, structure, rules, and likeable leading men. In life, we have this."


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Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:14 pm
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Cole says...

Sometimes it takes awhile to name a character too.

I'm working on a novella and the main character's name is Wendy Grimm. The antagonist's name is Ethelred Antonescu.

It took me three years to name Wendy after going through these names:
Sarah, Beth, Sarabeth, Mary, Chastity, Chase, Kennedy, Lacey, and then finally Wendy Grimm, which works for the character.

My antagonist was a lot more frustrating to name. It took me four years. His character is basically the Devil incarnate, but I didn't want to be cheesy and name him something like Lucifer, Damon, or Lucian.

I went through the names: Nero, Salem, Leander, Silas, Dante, Claude, Vincent, Victor and many more. I then came across Ethelred, which I really liked.

Sometimes it takes awhile to name characters, but if you truly love the story, you can't be stopped from finding the perfect name.
Last edited by Cole on Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Tue May 24, 2011 1:27 am
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Glauke says...

A great website to go to for story names (that I often use) is
TIP: If you go under the search bar, there is a link that says "Advanced Search". If you click it, at the top of that page will appear a link in green that says "Tips for Writers". It helps a lot! -Penni xx

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Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:55 am
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tgirly says...

I had the perfect name for one of my characters... and then I forgot it. I had to figure out a completely different name.
When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.
-Abraham Joshua Heschel

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Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:48 pm
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Carlito says...

When I come across cool names that I really like, I make a note of them. I have a file on my computer that's just called "names" and when I can think of a good name for a character, I look there. So start writing down names you like if you don't do so already.

Sometimes, if I need a name and I know the character isn't going to be super important and makes a cameo appearance or something, I use until I find something I like. I also use it if I'm having a difficult time coming up with a last name.
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Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:18 pm
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missalaineus says...

I have a thing for odd names. Which is a good thing, because in my setting odd nicknames are far more common than "Joe" or "Jane". The only problem is coming up with good nicknames that don't sound cheesy. But man...when you find 'just the right' name, it's the best feeling ever! ^.^
I'm the type of person that gives such good advise, people frame my quotes on a wall and don't follow them.

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Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:06 am
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ZeroKelvin says...

I prefer to sort out most of the important names before starting the story. For some reason, I find it easier to work on the plot when I know the names.

An important tip for fantasy writers would be this: Make sure that other people can reasonably be expected to pronounce any names you make up. Also, it is important that names of characters from the same place have some form of coherence. In the words of one fantasy writers' quiz, "do you see it as completely acceptable to have two characters from the same village named Tim Umber and Betheletheltusah Al'Grinsok?"
"He who fights with monsters should take care lest he in turn become a monster...
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Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:24 am
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Justlittleoleme says...

Normally, if I can't find any names in my head that work I will think of a meaning or object that fits my character and simply do a search for "names that mean XXXXXXX". Normally I hit sites like, or baby and I usually find a decent name pretty quickly. Like, I once had a Character who had a lot of freckles, I looked up "names that mean freckled" and ran into the name Breck, which literally means "freckles". I then added the word root, wyn, which means friend and came up with a completely original name, Breckwyn, which in my mind means "freckled friend" which is exactly what he was, it worked perfectly :D ...of course in the story he is just called Breck, but there will be special times when his full name is used which I feel brings just a tad more depth to a character...

I also use this formula when naming places, I will look up different names and different words in different languages that describe the place I'm thinking of, then I combine the different words in a way that sounds cool and literally describes the place I'm describing. I always come up with really unique names that way...

...of course this may not work all the time and for everyone but it is the formula I always use on the more difficult to name characters and that way I managed to avoid cliched names...

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Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:47 am
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confetti says...

I find that the name of the character isn't that important. Of course, don't name your character something crazy, but I don't think picking out a name should be a big deal. When I need a name, I either think of one on the spot, or google "girls names" / "boys names". I don't mean to sound lazy when I say this. If I think the name is important, I will research the name meaning and all that jazz. I suppose it's different between naming a character that will be present for 2,000 words, and naming a character that will be present for 90,000.
In my opinion, it's not the name that matters, but the character itself. I guess what I'm trying to say is: give your character's name meaning, don't give your character meaning from their name. Define them by their actions, by who they are. Don't define them by a single word like "Anna" or "Jason". Define them with hundreds of words.
"So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads."
— Dr. Seuss

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Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:19 am
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Audy says...

Hm. Usually when I come up with characters, I get an essence of their personality and characteristics in my head. When I first started writing - it was a list of things. Things like: courageous, funny, smart, female who's athletic with red hair. Now, I tend to steer away from characterizing my characters with the list method. Instead, I generally think of an image. Such as a lady in her late-twenties who jogs every morning at 5am. Well what kind of person is she? And everything about this character sort of comes out of that image. When I think of her name, I begin with a letter. This jogging lady - she's J. J for jogging? I don't know, but my brain tells me: J.

Then I browse through for a name that starts with J and come up with one I feel will suit the character. Josephine. Perfect.

Surnames - now that's where the trouble is. It takes me forever and a day to come up with a good surname, and I always end up changing.

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Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:28 am
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SmylinG says...

Similar to Pen I guess, I have a baby naming book that was my friends which she left at my house a long time ago and never took back. It has everything I ever need when it comes to having trouble with names and such. As silly as it may sound, baby name sources are usually the number one source to go to when naming a character really. Because when you want to know the meaning of a name, the origin of a name, or which names are common for which personalities, baby name sources have that all on lock.

Seriously. I kid you not. ;]

Audy wrote:Surnames - now that's where the trouble is. It takes me forever and a day to come up with a good surname, and I always end up changing.

I always tend to go for attractive surnames. Dunno why. o: And they always come easy.
Paul is my little, evil, yellow bundle of joy.

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Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:31 pm
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21WhiteRoses says...

Could someone please help me come up with three of names:) ? The first is the father of the main character. He is very aristocratic, arrogant, and prideful. I pretty much consider him an antagonist. His name should be elegant, but should fit into a medieval/fantasy environment. The second is a woman who the guy I just mentioned falls in love with after his wife is killed. She's pretty mysterious and quiet. She in a way represents the moon, sea, and wind. She has silver hair and silver-blue eyes. The third is the main character's teacher. He is almost king-like but more humble.He is very wise and powerful. His symbol,I suppose, would be a golden fox. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! :D
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