Posted by RazzaTazz (11941 posts) - - Show Bio

This past weekend I came across a couple of instances in which I wondered how it is that sometimes that people come up with names for characters that they create. The first instance was in Grimm Fairy Tales Myths and Legends. The first story arc is based around Little Red Riding Hood, whose actual name in this continuity is Britney Waters. Britney is a common enough name in recent years, but the part I found interesting was when a reporter showed up whose name was Miley Spears. Of course there is no way of knowing for sure (except if I could ask the author) but it seems to be a pastiche of the names Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus. The second thing which got me thinking this was an issue of Heart Throbs, a romance anthology from the 1970s, which contained four stories. In three out of the four stories the main female lead was named Kathy or Cathy. This comes down to editing and maybe poor planning, but the overuse of the name was still notable for the lack of coordination among the authors and editors.

With that in mind I though I might mention how I choose names for when I write fiction. One of my major sources these days is websites for baby names. These quite often have relatively detailed descriptions of names (some even have suggestions for choosing fictional names.) When I check a name I usually look up other famous people with that name just to see when it was popular and who made it popular. In the case of foreign names, I usually go another route, and one coincidentally which is available right now. With almost every nation in the world collected in one place, I find that combing through the names of athletes competing at the Olympics can be a good source of names for foreign characters. That having been said though, my routes for name choosing are not the only options. I am sure other have their own, and I would be interested to hear them.

#1 Posted by The Poet (8646 posts) - - Show Bio


Whenever I create a name I don't know where I get the name from, but then later I create reasons for using that name...

The Poet, for example was a hero in a story I was playing with writing about a heroic riddler, but I threw the story away, but kept the character name and made it my own...

#2 Posted by RazzaTazz (11941 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Poet: that is interesting I do that sometimes as well, but I find it can create problems later if the name is an anachronism
#3 Posted by Kiara_Sullivan (29690 posts) - - Show Bio

I always ALWAYS try to use a name that isn't well know or used. For instance just characters I have created; Kiara Sullivan, Nailana Lee, Zora, Salandra, Kaya, Iraya, Ithilwen,, Farinele. Just to name a few. Usually I base the names on whatever the race is or whatever sounds interesting to me at the time. I never put much thought past the first few and they always seem to work out.

#4 Posted by RazzaTazz (11941 posts) - - Show Bio
@Kiara_Sullivan: so you go more for the sound of the name?
#5 Posted by GR2Blackout (2929 posts) - - Show Bio

Usually I just incorporate there super-hero name into there real name

(Example: Man-Tree/Jacob Mantrez)

#6 Posted by Delphic (1696 posts) - - Show Bio

A lot of times I use names off the top of my head, and some are so outlandish that no matter what you do spell check will always count the name wrong. When I'm having a more difficult time I sometimes use the names of my friends, family, and acquaintances and other variations of that name. This is when an online name generator that I used becomes extremely handy, because not only can I generate random names, but I can also look at their meanings and variations by nationality. It might be the same one you used:

#7 Posted by Raiiyn (3676 posts) - - Show Bio

Interesting blog. Personally I try to go for older names or throw a twist in the spelling of the name I like. For example I love the name Deirdre but never really liked how its pronounced? So I turned it into Diyerdre. I do the same thing that you do though, when it comes to looking up name meanings. One of my characters' names mean 'ash' which works well since she's a fire user ^.^

#8 Posted by RazzaTazz (11941 posts) - - Show Bio
@Raiiyn: Do you think about the flow of a name, along the lines of iambic pentameter or something like that?
#9 Posted by Raiiyn (3676 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz: It's not the stress of the second syllable that I am focused on when I create names. Just look at Raiiyn. I like how my names look on paper just as much as how they sound.

#10 Posted by Project_Worm (3804 posts) - - Show Bio

I usually grab the name by taking pieces of words form one of the dozens of posters in my room. And top it off with a common name.. ex: Jack Payden. But this is really well thought out.

#12 Posted by ChaosBlazer (4003 posts) - - Show Bio