Sunday, August 29, 2010

Writing Meme: What's In a Name? [3/30]

3. How do you come up with names for characters (and for places if you're writing about fictional places)?

Coming up with names is one of my favorite aspects of character and world creation. When I have time for it, that is. So many times I just want to go ahead with my writing, but I’m hung up with having to name this character. Usually I have to pause while I come up with a decent enough name, telling myself that I’ll fix it later. Most of the time I can’t get around to finding a better name before the temporary name starts to stick, so it’s better for me to do it right the first time.

Here’s my system for completely made-up names: I choose sounds and letter combinations that convey a certain feeling (at least to me), and then I try combining them. For example, here are some feminine sounds that I favor:

  • riel
  • lyn
  • ae
  • etta
  • v
From these we get:
  • Vettalyn
  • Lynariel
  • Lynetta
  • Aelyn
  • Ettariel
  • Vaeriel
  • Lynaev
...and more!

Another thing I do (particularly when I’m trying to come up with a guy name – I’m not as good at coming up with masculine sounds) is go to Rinkworks’ Fantasy Name Generator and generate a couple of dozen names (or so). There are bound to be a few that look promising, and after a little tweaking (and sound stealing), I almost always end up with a few good names.

View the complete list of questions

1 comment:

  1. I normally hate naming characters, but I love how you choose your names. Going with a sound and how the letters look together is very interesting. Much more interesting than going to a website like Behind the Name, which is what I normally do. xD