What’s in a name?

Creating characters is something I spend a lot of time doing. Most I the time it’s more like they find me rather than being invented by me. Understanding a character, getting to know them and what makes them tick isn’t always easy. The thing I struggle he most with though, is figuring out good names for them. Name generators, scrambling letters or browsing name lists and websites – it’s like wading a through bog.

Something I’ve resorted to doing is compiling my own lists of names, a name-bank if you will, and showing these lists to friends. I ask them if there are names they like and if they find some I put a mark next to the name and compile a new list with the chosen names. I repeat the process until I have a list of names that I am happy with.

Finding names that fit a personality makes things even worse. Sometimes I even go as far as building a character from the name and up.

How do you get names for your characters?

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About Fredrik Kayser

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4 Responses to What’s in a name?

  1. Fredrik Kayser says:

    Interesting method, Aedania. :)

  2. Fredrik Kayser says:

    It does make sense. Surnames are difficult, even more so than given names. Thanks for sharing. ^^

  3. Emma Snow says:

    The way I choose names for my characters is by brainstorming. I pick up on names that I like, whether they are from people I know or from books, shows, ect. The hard part for me is adding their surname to the mix. It has to be right back and sound good, kind of like a musical composition being finished; if that makes any sort of sense.

  4. aedania says:

    I made my own “generator” at one point, studying a bunch of names from popular settings. What I did was to take a name, like Gandalf, and split it up, like Gand – Alf. So you get small bits of names. Then you combine them in new ways. This was an excellent way to come up with elven names for example, consisting of several of these bits. I made a list of common endings, like “thiel”, “nor” or “lath”, and a list of common common starts like “Ana”, “Alva” or “Gala”. It works really well actually :) You make seperate lists for Dwarfs, Humans and whatever race you have in your setting.

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