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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    12

    Do you set rules for yourself when naming your characters?

    I actually have two questions. But first, I'm curious, if anyone has any names that are off limits for characters, or you had a certain rule, or route, when coming up with names.

    Personally, for me, I can't use names of, or are too similar to, family or close friends' of mine. For example, my brothers' names are Kevin and David, so if I'm trying to come up with a name for one of my male characters, I would avoid those two names because I'd end up finding it very difficult to write about a character named "David", because all I'll be doing is picturing my brother, instead of the character that happens to have his namesake.

    And recently, I've learned that my friend's sister, who is also a writer, has a pet peeve of character names that have very similar sounds. So, if you have a Sarah, then give another character the name Sasha, she'll have to to change one of then names.

    Is anyone else that picky about names?

    Now. To my second question. I need some help coming up with a new name for one of my characters for a story I am attempting to write (and haven't gotten very far with). The story is sort of based off a dream I had last year. It's based in this city, with a very strict ruling; "The Rulers" (I haven't figured out what to call them yet) are very cold-hearted and not particularly fond of children, so they shun them away to a different part of the city when they're old enough to start school; preschool aged at the earliest. Children remain in this "Children City" (unofficial name) until they're twenty-one, and have proven themselves "adult enough" to return to the city with the adults. Some kids just don't want to go when they reach of age however, and rebel. They run, so they aren't sent away to "The Unknown"; where no one truly knows what happens when sent there. My story surrounds a group of kids like this, that (for right now) I'm calling "The Forgotten". The name I need help with is the "leader" of this forgotten group of kids.

    I was calling him Landon Axel Elmore for a little while. But recently, I happened to tell my friends' sister (the one I mentioned above) the names in the stories I've been working on, and she pointed out that I happened to have five different names that end in N, and that I should change at least one. Out of the three names she threw at me to pick from: Grayson, Colton and Landon, I was really only willing to part with Landon, but decided to turn it into his middle name and get rid of Axel. So what I'm looking for his a first name to go with Landon Elmore.

    Let's see. I haven't figure out much about "Landon" yet, aside from him being unofficially appointed the leader of these kids, and that he's probably about 23, and the oldest of this group. I'm sorry I don't have much on him yet. But I'm looking for a strong, leader like name, that could fit nicely with Landon Elmore. I came across that I was contemplating with Gage, Clay and possibly Cody. Though, I'm not 100% sure I like Cody, it doesn't fit the image I'm looking for for this leader.

    Any ideas?
    (my apologies for how rambly this might be)
    ♥~Teresa Elaine; the struggling writer with a slight obsession with names, and proud momma of fur-baby, Jazmyn.
    personal favorites of the moment: Dylan Ryder, Lexie Seraphine., "Ellie"

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    123
    I like Gage, but maybe you could do a nickname for Landon. I recently read a story about a Colton who went by Colt and I thought that was really neat. But changing the name of a character can be hard. If he's Landon, he's going to be Landon, and don't worry about the other characters. But I like Axel as a first name. A lot. I mean, I have a ton of naming rules, but ultimately, the character will decide what his name will be and will disregard your petty rules. Here are some other suggestions: Blake, Jax, Zale, Oz (short for Oswald) Garret/Garrett, or Patrick "Trick" if it fits, Finn, Chase, Reeve, Ace, Jett, Ryder, Jake, Wyatt, Rex, Mac/Mak, Luk/Luke, Trey, Nick, or Max. Pick something with a hard t, k, or x sound in it for a powerful sounding name.

    I'm quite the stickler when it comes to names. I hate it when I have names that are too similar, rhyme or even start with the same letter. I had a character named Cordelia Larkin who decided her middle name was Juliet. Her older sister, who had to have a Shakespearean name because their parents are Shakespeare freaks, decided that her name was Ophelia, even though I hated that it rhymed with Cordelia. So Ophelia Kate was created. A character originally called Nathan Hawking not only decided that his middle name was Romeo but that his first name was Nathaniel, even though I had a character in another story called Nathaniel. But Nathaniel Hawking goes by Nate and Nathaniel Micah, prince of Evanslei, goes by Micah.
    I had an Aloysia who went by Allie and I tried to change it to Ally and she wouldn't let me.

    On to my rules:
    I'll often use names from the same origin to show that my characters all live in the same place. A story I'm working on now has only Greek and Latin names. A past story used a lot of African names because they sounded very fantasy (Nyathera, Ilori as a term of endearment, Ilom, Ajamu, Iniko). Yet another I'm thinking of writing takes place in the same realm as the Greek/Latin story, but a different province. I'm thinking of using Celtic/Gaelic names for it, and Welsh names for another story in a different province.

    Meaning is also very important. The high fantasy story had Halyn Mugarson as the protagonist. Her first name means "special, unlike any other" Her last name comes from the African name "Muga" which means "nothing." The Emotional plot of the book was that Halyn felt like she was nothing and worthless because of what her dad (the one who gave her the last name) made her feel like she was nothing, while trying to see what she was, a a special treasure (Ilori). The Latin/Greek story is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Calista is greek for "most beautiful" and that's my Belle's name. The beast is Damien, which is greek for "to tame"

    But getting back to my weird naming- the Beauty and the Beast retelling has these characters in it: Aurelia, Briony, Calista [sisters] Damien, Elani, Flavian, Gabriel, King Haemon, Prince Ignatius, Julian, Kyrie, Prince Lysander [Damien is actually the bastard prince and has two names, Damien and Lysander] Melina, Nerina, Queen Olympia, Pandora, Quentyn, Rhodes, Sebastian, Thaddeus, Ulixes, and Verity. The common origin also helps unify the names.

    I tried doing this with Nathaniel Micah's story and was less successful. I had Reuben and Rebecka who went by Ben and Beck, but weren't supposed to- it was supposed to be Ben and Rebecka or Rueben and Beck. I had Connie and High Chancellor Page, whose name was Page but always went by Chance. I had Nolan and Nathaniel Micah, who went by Micah, but they were both princes...

    I also usually avoid using names of my family for main characters. I've used Martin twice now (but once he went by M, which got changed to Matt eventually) and Daniel once (M's twin, Dan). Those are my brothers' names. They were supporting characters. But I would never use Kerilyn or Michaila, mine and my sister's names, because they're not at all common. I've used Carrie for a minor character once (mostly because Keri asked me to let her "cameo"). But I don't think I'd ever use Michael or Elizabeth, my parents' names, even though they are common. I might use Elizabeth as long as she doesn't go by Beth
    Teenage Name Geek & Author
    Novel Faves:
    Beauty is Blind:Aurelia Dawn, Briony Sage & Calista Rose; Damien Lysander
    Twice Upon a Time: Contenza "Connie" & Jensina "Jennie"
    Reality:
    GIRLS: Antonia Jude "Annie" Rosalind Briar "Lindy" Felicity Snow, Tabitha Belle, Briallen
    BOYS: Gabriel Kai, Sebastian Lawrence, Benedict Jotham, Lionel James, Nathaniel
    http://www.babynames.com/namelist/9792647

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    12
    I really like how you talk about how the characters pretty much pick their names, it's an interesting way to think about it. It'd explain why sometimes it seems like nothing will stick when coming up with names, and end up going to a name I was thinking about in the first place.

    Since my story is based on a (strange) dream I had, that when waking up I thought I'd make an interesting story, if done correctly. Colton, was actually in the dream. He's a baby, and probably doesn't play a very big role in the story outside of the scene I dreamt up that I somehow have try to incorporate into the story somehow. I gave him the name Colton Hunter Grimsley. His mother's name is Camille (I'm thinking of changing her middle name) Grimsley, she goes by "Millie".

    I've been wanting to use the names Wesley and Lacey as sibling names for a while, even before this idea/dream came to me. So they ended up being a couple of the first characters in this story. Wesley Adam Blake (17) is Lacey Carolynn Blake (15)'s older brother. They're very close.

    Grayson Chandler Monrow is one of my main characters. He goes by "Gray" mostly. He's 12, and pretty upset with the way the city functions. His sister, Sierra Melody Monrow, was sent away to "The Unknown", and he couldn't stop it. So the story surrounds his attempts to get revenge on losing his sister to the stupid rules put up by "The Rulers". Sierra leaves behind a son, Kyle Benjamin Monrow, who I believe is about 4 now. Kyle's father, Benjamin ("Ben") Parker Kendrick, was captured and sent to "The Unknown" before Kyle was born. Unknown to Gray, he is actually Wesley and Lacey's half-brother (who are also unaware of this fact).

    I also have a shapeshifter in this story as well named Finnian Jefferson Wylde, he goes by "Finn". He's friends with Gray. (it's another aspect of the dream that I needed to work out. This was the only way I can make sense of it.)

    That's four names that end in N right there, even though Ben is dead, and might not play a very big part of the story. That leaves us with "Landon". I'll keep my eyes peels for those names with a hard t, k or x sound for his new name (if he accepts one). I actually really like Trey, it's already on my list of maybe names. I'd love to use it, if it didn't rhyme with Gray...

    Regardless, Thank you!
    Last edited by teresaelaine; March 20th, 2013 at 08:30 PM.
    ♥~Teresa Elaine; the struggling writer with a slight obsession with names, and proud momma of fur-baby, Jazmyn.
    personal favorites of the moment: Dylan Ryder, Lexie Seraphine., "Ellie"

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    123
    I'd be okay with similar names as long as a) the characters themselves aren't similar, and/or b)they don't interact much or c)one is far less important to the story.
    Connie was one of the main protagonists and Chance was the antagonist, which is why it bothered me. But darn it if Chance was ever going to be called Page...
    With Ophelia and Cordelia, Cordelia's the main character, and Ophelia isn't even physically present as she's away at school, but she's mentioned a lot. Therefore I have less of a problem with them.
    Surprisingly, the one that really bugged me was David and Dinyaza. Dinyaza was the bad guy. David was the sidekick (think Ron Weasley or Walter from Dragons in Our Midst by Bryan Davis if you've read that). That was an interesting story because two names popped in my head and demanded a story- so brother and sister Judd and Monicka were born.

    Grayson I wouldn't count as a -n name as he goes by Gray. I also don't group Ben and Landon in the same group- maybe it's the syllables or rhythms of the name...idk. Same goes for Finn. I guess for me -don is different than -en is different than -inn is different than -ton.
    Teenage Name Geek & Author
    Novel Faves:
    Beauty is Blind:Aurelia Dawn, Briony Sage & Calista Rose; Damien Lysander
    Twice Upon a Time: Contenza "Connie" & Jensina "Jennie"
    Reality:
    GIRLS: Antonia Jude "Annie" Rosalind Briar "Lindy" Felicity Snow, Tabitha Belle, Briallen
    BOYS: Gabriel Kai, Sebastian Lawrence, Benedict Jotham, Lionel James, Nathaniel
    http://www.babynames.com/namelist/9792647

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Flitting between the Heartland and the South
    Posts
    250
    I think that if you've always pictured him as a Landon, then go with Landon. Since the others have nicknames, and will probably rarely be addressed by their full names, I honestly wouldn't worry about it. But if you're set on re-naming him I suggest: Jacob/Jake, Rhys, or Luke. I do like the other suggested names Patrick, Finn, and Chase as well.

    As for my own rules, like you, I do not name characters after family or close friends. I also do not use names that I have set aside for my future children. Most of the time, I picture a character and their name just sort of comes to me (if that makes sense). If they have a certain personality quirk, I give them a name that I think goes with their eccentric behavior.

    I think that your story sounds very interesting. Good luck writing
    TTC #1 since October 2012...
    Cecelia, Lydia, Clara
    Adric, Isaac, Silas

    "I'd rather be honest than impressive."

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