name fatigue

Dragonlady

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Does anyone else get name fatigue, especially when starting a new project? I have several dozen characters to name, and a handful of places. If I stopped to come up with a decent name every time I needed one I'd never write anything. I've started giving them daft names I can replace later - a local landowner is Samir Jones for now, but I'm a bit concerned Franc is going to stick for the main love interest.
 

Droflet

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I have a file called Info. In this file I have names for everything. People, of different nationalities, ships, planets and so much more. Like you I don't want anything interfering with the normal flow of my writing. I built this up over a period of a couple of years and it's served me well. I don't know if that would work for you but it does for me. Hope that helps.
 

Dragonlady

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That's a good thought Droflet, I'll have to start something in my one note, though I don't always find them easy to come up with
 

CupofJoe

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I often use real world place names for character names until the right one comes along. In recent stories I have had at various times...
Long Sutton, Upton Grey, Farleigh Wallop, Up Nately, Nately Scures, Old Basing and Preston Candover.
 

tinkerdan

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If you have some notion of culture or race or nationality; wikipedia is a great tool.
Look up different countries and there is often a list important people and sometime links to lists of various surnames.

Also genealogy sites and people who do a lot of genealogy are a great resource.

Following your own genealogy back can yield a lot of information for potential names.

Sites for baby names are great for first names.

When I was getting the local paper the Obits were a source of interesting ways to combine names.

However I've noticed a tendency for some to put too much emphasis on names and finding just the right and cool name for their character to the point that they don't want to reveal the name because they think someone will steal it. Having a cool name won't make the story better unless you write well, so I'm not sure it's a good thing to obsess about.
 

Dragonlady

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Indeed @tinkerdan sometimes an ordinary name can be more powerful. My husband found a name generator from the 1881 census, combining names and surnames that were common then. The dilemna with a fantasy setting is to have names that don't sound too much 'this world' (unless that's what you want) but are still relatable and not too other worldly
 

Phyrebrat

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How relevant to the journey are the character names? As long as they’d keep the tone of your playworld I’d not put too much weight on it. There are some characters you write that just seem to name themselves - a couple of my betas have remarked upon the fact that a lot of my characters names are Dickensian; with an antagonist like Marville Pikepepper in my wip I have to agree :)

Place names are different. They require a credibility of provenance that characters often do not.

Sorry I’ve not been much help, I just wanted to share my thoughts. ;)

pH
 

Vareor

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I find naming anything (characters, places, chapter titles, etc.) the most difficult part of writing. You can take your time - and space - to give life to characters and develop the world with the dialogue and the narrative.

However, naming is a whole different beast entirely. Names are representative and they feel dense and heavy with importance.

I just capital all of them with NAME and encumber my future self with this task.
 

Stephen Palmer

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I often use real world place names for character names until the right one comes along. In recent stories I have had at various times...
Long Sutton, Upton Grey, Farleigh Wallop, Up Nately, Nately Scures, Old Basing and Preston Candover.
You should keep them!
I wrote a children's book where all the character names were fabulous villages in Cornwall. Botus Fleming was my fave.
 

sknox

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Agreed on the master list. I prefer web sites such as Behind the Name over name generators, especially because they give variant spellings.

Here's another source. Go to the library (that big building with books in it, remember?) and go to the stacks for history books. This will be arranged by region--Europe, Asia, etc.--then by chronology and sub-region. Pick any books that have an index and start thumbing. A book on Hittites or on the Wends or the Faroe Islands will give you a blizzard of names. Don't be selective, but do write down their region and era. After investing a few hours you'll have hundreds of names. Medieval Scandinavian names. Pre-Columbian South American names. Inuit names. You want them arranged so you can have name consistency across multiple charcters. If you're feeling especially ambitious, do the same for place names--they'll be in that index as well.

However you go about it, follow the advice given here: keep everything in one place. That way you can use your computer's search function to come up with something quickly. For those not annoyed by the clumsy UI, a spreadsheet is not a bad tool because of its sorting functions. Databases for the nerdly ambitious. Word processor for mere mortals.
 

Plucky Novice

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Does anyone else get name fatigue, especially when starting a new project? I have several dozen characters to name, and a handful of places. If I stopped to come up with a decent name every time I needed one I'd never write anything. I've started giving them daft names I can replace later - a local landowner is Samir Jones for now, but I'm a bit concerned Franc is going to stick for the main love interest.
Yes I find this painful. As I will normally get to the names quite quickly (then change them later), I mostly suffer from this early in a wip. So I use placeholders that remind me of the character to help me be consistent in writing them. For example mentor, fiery girl, asd kid...
 

M. Robert Gibson

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Many years ago I wrote a random word generator which sometimes throws up name-like words

However, there are whole sites out there with random name generators. Just search "fantasy name generator"

Here's a couple that seem quite good


 

Teresa Edgerton

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I've used just about everything but name generators: baby name books, online sites of names by nationality, maps, indexes and bibliographies at the backs of favorite reference books, etc. etc. I even went so far as to invent a language, in part to create names for people and places (the other reason was to use it in magic spells), which is something I WILL NEVER DO AGAIN (too much work).

****

Back in the heyday of Celtic-based fantasy, in the 1980s and 90s, a lot of us used Culhwch and Olwen as a resource, since there is a scene where Culhwch invokes the names of all of Arthur's warrior, plus a few of their womenfolk. It is a long, long list. Sure, the author of the tale made up a lot of the names or garbled some of them out of Irish and other sources, but he was doing that c. 1325 in Wales, so the names have attained a certain folkloric weight in the intervening centuries even when they are nonsense, and who could resist such a handy resource? Certainly not I, nor many of my contemporaries.
 

Karn's Return

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All the time, DL.

You know, back when they were active, I had a sort of tongue-in-cheek guide to character naming in the blogs here.


But it is a real problem. I've had to delve into all sorts of nonsense for names, pulling from Greek, Japanese, and European fantasy/mythological/root names. It all really depends on what your naming convention is normally for your world; One example, though, of that previous guide is, if there's three brothers in your story named Muhammad, Akashiro, and William, there would definitely be some explaining to do.
 
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