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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Exclamation Slightly-Larger-Than-Small Naming Issue

    Okay, so I've started a novel I think may be 'the one'. (Not the first one I get published, mind you, just the first one that I finish.) I am thinking about it endlessly and it keeps rolling around in my head, adding layer after layer of plot and story and character. But I digress--this is a naming problem.

    Okay, so I was typing along. the opening prologue involves a fight(ish thing) between two mages, who I have named Gahnil and Arral. They also mention another mage, Aeli. So, I have these nice little naming parameters set up for the mages (names use 'a' and 'l'; if he is a male than it will end in 'l'), who will be THE pivotal plot point in the story.

    Now I typed a scene switch for the opening chapter. Cameras zoom in on Prince and Younger Sister, playing with Dog. They are talking, talking; the younger sister's name is (wait for it) 'Celwaithe'. I thought *all right, it's a little odd, but it doesn't matter, it's a fantasy, people can pronounce it, her nickname will be 'Cel' anyway, and she's secretly a mage, so it fits that*.

    And then I typed the prince's name (I'm almost afraid to type it again): Herbert. Yes, Herbert. It flowed from my fingers and it totally fits him, but the fact of the matter is I named the protagonist of my fantasy novel, who has a sister named Celwaithe, Herbert. Yes, Herbert.

    Now, the royal family is a little odd. Herb and Cel have a big brother named Henry, who was born to the Queen and the original king (who was also a mage). Now, Herbert and Celwaithe (allegedly) were born to a commoner with whom the queen had an affair after her original husband died. (Right now she's single, nameless, and not a key plot point). And then, in the middle of the story, the bomb is dropped: Celwaithe is adopted. (more accurately, she was left on the stoop of the castle.)

    Regardless of that, I still have a sibset of Henry, Herbert, and Celwaithe. (Incidentally, Henry is a horrible traitor who will later cause Celwaithe's death). I also love the names and don't know if I could bear to change a single one--they are all pitch-perfect for the character.

    This is a small problem.

    Please help.

    (And if by some miracle this thing is actually published, I'm incredibly sorry I've revealed all the key plot points to you.)


    ~*~EDIT~*~
    Okay, so I've been doing some research (in between trying to eke out a chapter that's totally not working), and have found out that, coincidentally, Herbert and Henry are both German. It's rather an exciting discovery.

    Now, I've been looking for alternatives to Herbert and Celwaithe that are German in origin, and these are what I've found:

    For Herbert:
    Harbin

    For Celwaithe
    Ansel

    Now, Herb's I'm okay with, since it is shortenable to "Herb" (kind of). I don't know how it will read yet; I'll probably take my favorite passage and substitute the name in, see how it reads.

    I like Ansel, and b/c this is a fantasy I figure I can use it on a girl without raising too many questioning heads. The only problem is...it technically fits the mage male naming requirement. Now, I can change the requirements, since I haven't even written them in to the story yet, but I'd rather not.

    Any advice? Opinions?

    I'm getting together with my writing group on the 29th, so I'll run it past them too. Wish me luck, both in naming and in writing. It's not going great right now. <"No, Herbert, you can't be captured by the villain yet! Readers still need to get to know Celwaithe so they understand your desire to kill Gahnil come later!">

    Lo and behold, they're not listening...regarding names and plot.
    Last edited by akky3210; January 19th, 2012 at 09:59 PM.

  2. #3
    What if you changed it to something like Hebritt and Hendry. So they have the sound of names we know as if they have evolved?

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    3,068
    You could use an older version of the name Herbert like Haribert/Heribert or a related name
    Last edited by alexa400; January 19th, 2012 at 01:15 PM.
    Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Europa ;)
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    99
    Thanks so much for the advice on dear Herbert.... I do, however, want to arrange it so he can have the nickname "Herb"; that's such an integral part of his character now (it's all anyone calls him) that I don't think I can abandon it.

    I've been thinking on Celwaithe, and I keep having a feeling that it's not going to work. This is further complicated by the fact that at one point, about to be forced into the service of the villain, she formally renounces her name, and he later gives her the new name "Kitron". (It means "crown", which makes sense in context of the story).

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