See, I think the names I'm using as placeholders fit the characters, but not the place they live and so will be tweaked for authenticity, hopefully not altering their character. I should start reviewing some before I have many more words...
As a teenager I collected names, and had a pile of dictionaries in different languages to help with fictional ones
Back when I was on FB, I stole for my characters the names of FB friends, usually combining one person's first name with another's last name. It worked pretty well. Granted, it may not work as well for aliens or barbarians.
Also, I once lived at the intersection of Gregory St. and Ashland St. (bonus points if you can find the town where such an intersection exists), and ever since I've wanted to name a character Gregory Ashland, but just haven't found a place for him. If I were writing some kind of sophisticated romance novel, I suppose he'd fit right in.
I'm with those who have found that if I change a character's name the personality changes, too. Sometimes that actually works better, or if it is a very minor character it might not matter at all, but other times it changes an individual that I need to be a certain way, someone very important to the plot. Even if their name is hard to pronounce, even if, as far as readers go something more familiar might be more pleasing, I just can't change the name because then they would be somebody else. Once I have named such characters, for better or worse that is who they ARE.
Also, while it might be convenient to write a book where all the names are easy and familiar, that might not fit the setting. I've had readers complain about how hard Welsh or Irish names are to pronounce, but I don't think they would make the same complaint if I set a story in, say, Japan or Africa, though the names might be equally challenging. On the other hand, maybe those are the readers who would not even read a book set in Japan or Africa. Some readers want a story that feels like home (except, you know, with magic and stuff) and others want to be taken away to a place they have never been. But as the best advice I have ever heard is to write the kind of book you would love to read if somebody else had written it, I think a writer has to be true to the sort of stories they themselves like, either the "this feels like home only better" sort of story or the "whisk me away to a place I could never otherwise visit" sort of story. If it is the latter (and neither is better or worse than the other, it's all a matter of taste) naming characters after people you know, or the street you live on probably won't work.
I do love some of the place names Mouse has suggested as character names. I would absolutely read a book where some of those characters could exist.
I don’t think I could use nonsense or joke names as place-holders – they would just take me out of the story every time I used them.
I do keep a file with a bunch of random names in it which I will refer to for new characters, but more often than not I won’t find anything suitable, and end up back at square one anyway. I tend to think on a name, try and come up with something that at the very least works within the context, and move forward with that. It usually becomes quickly apparent if it doesn’t fit, and it’ll nag away at me in the back of my mind until something better comes up.
It's odd how names come about. Some I've thought about very carefully, others just immediately seemed right for no clear reason. In the WIP, there's a character called Kurt Wald, simply because I imagined that he looked like the actor Kurtwood Smith. I did reach an awkward point where three of the four point of view characters had names starting with M, which looked rather odd, and I've had to pick which one to change. I'm now unsure whether John Maundy will end up as John Fallow, John Farrow, John Furlong or John Sorrow. I wonder how Dickens or Peake dealt with this kind of thing.
Hehe, some of you might lose your minds reading my stuff, names alone. On my next project, just to name the people I needed to develop a totally new system (not that big of deal), a number system, how families and society works, etc.-etc..
Women only get one name. Men, get three names... bet you already misjudged it It is a matriarchal society where women are respected enough that their name suffices. Men are given a name, plus have noted where they fall in their order (first son, second son, etc.) and lastly, their mother's name bearing her reputation. So, it might be Bob-third son of-Mary. If that flips your wig, the whole child rearing thing will make you go mad
In any case, here are a few of the characters (1-10 = ska', ske', sko', spa', spe', spo', sta', ste', sto', ot'):
Characters: Tarik Ska’Rahsch: 79 y.o., navigator, 2-children. Mother Rahsch, Father Tranka Sta’Sename’, Kuma Ske’Rahsch, Seila, Canter Sko’Rahsch, Tulafae’, Aslace, Fanka Spa’Rahsch. Vraga Spo’Mene’: 43yo foul temper, curses a lot (spits to rid the words from his mouth to not say them or keep the bitterness in), gay, creates poetry. Holos: 23-27yo, very intelligent, strong willed, softly aggressive, seductive, dances. Jahnta Spa’Kortme’: 19-22yo, doesn’t use mother’s name wanting to feel equal to women. A screw up but doesn’t care. Cugatalunaphae’ (Cugat) Sta’Tormareesa: Caravan owner, calls everyone brother or sister, cousin. Claims due to his vast family size that everyone in some way is related to him. Likes being his mother’s ‘dirty boy’ having been sired by the same man, ‘Tet Ske’Oplas,’ that sired his older sister Hennamaeset. Has 26-children.
QUOTE="-K2-, post: 2352180, member: 41418"] Tarik Ska’Rahsch: 79 y.o., navigator, 2-children. Mother Rahsch, Father Tranka Sta’Sename’, Kuma Ske’Rahsch, Seila, Canter Sko’Rahsch, Tulafae’, Aslace, Fanka Spa’Rahsch. Vraga Spo’Mene’: 43yo fowl temper, curses a lot, gay, creates poetry. Holos: 23-27yo, very intelligent, strong willed, softly aggressive, seductive, dances. Jahnta Spa’Kortme’: 19-22yo, doesn’t use mother’s name wanting to feel equal to women. A screw up but doesn’t care. Cugatalunaphae’ (Cugat) Sta’Tormareesa: Caravan owner, calls everyone brother or sister, cousin. Claims due to his vast family size that everyone in some way is related to him. Likes being his mother’s ‘dirty boy’ having been sired by the same man, ‘Tet Ske’Oplas,’ that sired his older sister Hennamaeset. Has 26-children.
Whenever I look at the Bible I skip past the part that does something like this.
I'm just saying....