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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Names for children not named at birth

    This is kind of complicated, but here goes:

    Imagine an orphanage, where children have been abandoned at birth, but they were not given names by the people that raised them or any sort of education; instead, trained to fight and be the next generation of soldiers. A few of these children get rescued - ones that are still quite young. But obviously I'm going to need to identify between the group of children (likely going to be about six of them), but I don't know how.

    I could have the people that rescue them give each of them a name, but the child is unlikely to recognise their name after not having one for the rest of their life, and I can't have the child pick their own because they won't understand the concept of names.

    Do I just refer to each of them by a characteristic and turn that into a sort of nickname - Ginger, Freckles for example?

    I can't call them Rescued Boy 1, Rescued Girl 3 etc, but I just don't know how to term them.

    And if I do go for the people rescuing them giving each one a name, what sort of names would work? Something simple that they don't know anyone else by that name? Name them after a fallen friend or family member?

    It's a bit of an unconventional naming question, but I'd appreciate any thoughts on this. And also, if I do go with a simple name, what sort of names do you put under that category?

    Anna Katherine * Lydia Ellen * Zoe Madeleine * Phoebe ___ * Imogen ___ * Emilia ___
    Samuel * Thomas * Charlie * Reuben * Oliver * George


  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Australia
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    You could possibly use numbers but then the children themselves have given each other names

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Liverpool, England
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    Quote Originally Posted by essjay View Post
    Do I just refer to each of them by a characteristic and turn that into a sort of nickname - Ginger, Freckles for example?
    In order to be effective soldiers they will have had to communicate with each other somehow so it's most likely that they've given each other nicknames to distinguish one from another. So either based on their appearance (Small-One, Fattest, Angry, Fails etc words that aren't overly descriptive as you said, they're not educated) or ranks associated with their function on the battlefield (Gunner, Infantry, Captain that sort of thing). When freed they'd probably want to keep those names as it's the only piece of identity they have.
    ~Boys~

    Jory Leander Atticus, August Eli Benedict, Casimir Mordecai Stewart,
    Edmond John Meirion, Horatio Ethell Emery, Bram William Jasper,
    Julian Remy Charles, Vasiliy Lochlan Michael.


    ~Girls~

    Aira Rose ___, Eleni Fiorella Charlotte, Sylvia Sayuri Noor,
    Merit Eleanora Adelaide, Clover Elodie Seraphine, Bridie Scarlett Viola,
    Marguerite Cecilia Iris, Eilidh Clara Valentine.


    Sorry to anyone who read TSI. First draft was terrible. Second drafting now.

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    UK
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    That's a good point. Maybe I need to think the plot through a little more; the idea of them not having names was because the people who were raising them wanted them to be all the same, removing identity as a sort of control mechanism. But like you say, they need to communicate with each other somehow - maybe give them a military number instead?

    Anna Katherine * Lydia Ellen * Zoe Madeleine * Phoebe ___ * Imogen ___ * Emilia ___
    Samuel * Thomas * Charlie * Reuben * Oliver * George


  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    5,340
    I don't really have any great ideas, but in The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood gave her concubine characters names that consisted of the word of and the name of the man they belonged to. So they were offred, ofglen and ofwarren. Not saying you should do that, but that was a way to distinguish them from each other and still keeping it very impersonal and industrial. Numbers can be tricky to remember, just keep that in mind for the people who have to read it. I hate novels where I have to flip back and forth to remember who was who.
    [FONT=Palatino Linotype][CENTER]My darling Marian Illyria Aphrodite, March 2013 & Little Bunny (a girl!) due 9th of February 2014[/CENTER][/FONT]

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