How do you come up with names?

Discussion in 'Writing Workshop' started by NBalchemist, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. NBalchemist

    NBalchemist New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    MN, USA
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    For everything? The one country I have named in my world so far is Emenoll. I did this because the country has lots of green, lush, grassy hills and emerald is another word for green, while knoll is another word for hill. My boyfriend says it sounds like a kind of medicine, though -.-

    As for characters, well, I spent several hours on behindthename.com and babynamewizard.com looking for names that had a meaning that somewhat matched the character, but also had a fantasy feel/look/sound to them.

    How do you guys come up with names for places, characters and other stuff?
     
  2. Anrisa Ryn

    Anrisa Ryn Author, artist, gamer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Columbia Station, OH
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
    I usually try to use something that I feel describes them physically. For my finished novel, my main character is named Lorelei because she is an ice dragon. I think that name has something to do with ice. For my hummingbird characters, I chose names that made me think of something light and fluffy. My main character is named Liffon b/c it sounds like "chiffon" which is light and airy. My Kestrel characters have names that sound like fighters (Snyder is one, and Sparticus is another). For my Werewolf characters, I thought about Tuesday from Adam's family, so they are named April, October, and December (April b/c she is hyper, October b/c he is sensible, and December b/c he is stern and cold.)

    Everyone else I kind of just ue a generator lool.
     
  3. NBalchemist

    NBalchemist New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    MN, USA
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    I have 4 characters I scoured name meaning websites for, while I have one that I just used a generator for. The other 4 are humans, this guy is an elf. It WAS an "elf name generator" and the name I picked sounded good lol.
     
  4. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    Messages:
    5,672
    Likes Received:
    191
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Canada
    Ratings:
    +298 / 2 / -1
    hmmmm.... interesting question. I never use a name generator. I usually consider the race of the character and their temperament before naming them. For example, I might choose a name with a lot of soft consonants such as "l" and "s" for something like an elf. I tend to give stupid characters short, terse names and hard or tough characters might have some sharp/hard consonants in their name ("t" and "k" for example). Sometimes I also give my characters naming traditions in their culture... for example all the members of one clan might have names that start or end with the same letter. If the race the character belongs to has its own language, I make sure the name sounds like that language.
     
  5. Kelmourne

    Kelmourne The Savage Hippy

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Messages:
    8,034
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    A Pirate city in international cyberspace
    Ratings:
    +119 / 0 / -0
    To be honest, it does sound a little like a medicine.

    What I sometimes do is come up with one syllable I'd like in the name, then take out an atlas (or google maps) and find a tiny village in some country somewhere and fuse it with the syllable. Finland, Russia and Saudi Arabia are the ones I've used the most so far, but Ireland, Wales and England work too (Most Scottish names sound way to Scottish to be used for other things, but if that's what you're going for with the place you're naming then go for it).
     
  6. Dreamscaper

    Dreamscaper Royal Hamster Wrangler

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    134
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Florida
    Ratings:
    +249 / 3 / -0
    Generally I figure out the nationality of the character then look into some of the older language fluctuations for them (ie Old English/Norse/Gaelic/etc) and match things up with the meaning I want the character to have and see if I like it. Sometimes they come out strange, sometimes awesome.

    Example: I have a draconic character who was a slave to dark elves. His name ended up being Ryldirahc, meaning 'dragon slave' in the dark elf tongue.
     
  7. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Messages:
    4,068
    Likes Received:
    125
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Crystal Prison (space crime)
    Ratings:
    +162 / 0 / -0
    I either make up a name that sounds like it could be a name, or take already existing words and paste them together in a name-like way. An example of when I made a character for a game recently, a necromancer named Baelgood Malbones. I'm more into comedic sounding names though, this might not work for you unless you are into really bad jokes.
     
  8. Kelmourne

    Kelmourne The Savage Hippy

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Messages:
    8,034
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    A Pirate city in international cyberspace
    Ratings:
    +119 / 0 / -0
    At least you aren't like my friend who names his D&D character Elvish Priestly.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. JIM

    JIM zombie Turncoat

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    212
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    chasing the zombies
    Ratings:
    +329 / 1 / -0
    i use alternate spelling, ie: darksun campaign i have a human defiler named Marc. only son of a templar, character flaw is that hes the only child and used to getting his own way, love pissing off the other players.
     
  10. Drakien

    Drakien New Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    CA
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    I usually use behindthename or decent generators if I'm feeling uncreative.
     
  11. Gayle Miller

    Gayle Miller New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2012
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Scotland
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
    I choose according to time period, personality and profession if they have one and what sounds right in my head when I visualise them. Naming books and web searches for the more unusual names are good. For places I tend to pull from the surroundings and who lives there.