name fatigue

sknox

Member and remember
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
1,268
Location
Idaho
I am not standing with heretics not withstanding. Unorthodox, I know.
 

The Bluestocking

Bloody Mary in Blue
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
Messages
1,440
Location
The Afterlife
Most of the time my characters stroll into my head almost fully-formed and usually they already have a name.

*Reads the other posts on this thread*

Uh... I see that I'm in the minority here...

I do consciously tweak some of the names though - for example: one character is named in tribute to Reeva Steenkamp who was shot dead by Oscar Pistorius in an act of domestic violence and my character Reeva is a real firecracker of a Bloody Mary. And I decided at some point that all the house imps and brownies in my story world would have normal human names - yes, there's Frances and Susie (both house imps), and Alice and Penelope (both brownies). This reflects the tone and vibe of my world.
 

Phyrebrat

ba-Ba-ba-brat
Supporter
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Messages
4,630
Location
In your bedroom wardrobe...
Scrivener has a pretty comprehensive name generator with multiple customisable options - here's a screen cap.

A) Select the gender (option for either, too)
B) I like the touch of an alliteration option.
C) This is the most impressive option as cultural names can be specified. There're more regional/cultural options but this is screen cap of what was there when I took the screen.
D) It will generate between 1 - 500 names for you depending on where you set the slider.

Screenshot 2019-10-13 at 16.16.15.png


I've not needed to use it, but as you can see it's pretty amazing.

pH
 

dannymcg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2016
Messages
4,371
Location
Cumbria UK
every 'Cindy' I have met, has blonde/light-brown hair, tends to be well curved and somewhat promiscuous
You've just ensured I henceforth get my face slapped by the three Cindy's I know (or I might get lucky, wahey!)
 
Last edited:

scarpelius

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
324
Location
Bucharest
@The Bluestocking you're not alone. I've never had an issue naming my characters. Most of the time, they pop up in my mind because of the story. I mostly use common names, existing ones rather than inventing impossible to pronounce names. Using common names, helps the reader to focus on the story, rather than make an consciously effort to remember who's who. For example, I currently read The three-body problem and I need make an effort to remember some of the names, because they are very exotic to me.
 

Margaret Note Spelling

Try to get as far from the explosion as possible.
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
Messages
185
Location
The Heart of Nowhere
Scrivener has a pretty comprehensive name generator with multiple customisable options
I hate having to come up with last names for characters! They never sound genuine enough in my head. Thus my characters' cultures tend (with certain exceptions) to just have single names. I do anticipate eventually writing a book set in the real world, though, and this sounds really useful--I'll be making a note of it. Thanks!
 

The Bluestocking

Bloody Mary in Blue
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
Messages
1,440
Location
The Afterlife
@The Bluestocking you're not alone. I've never had an issue naming my characters. Most of the time, they pop up in my mind because of the story. I mostly use common names, existing ones rather than inventing impossible to pronounce names. Using common names, helps the reader to focus on the story, rather than make an consciously effort to remember who's who. For example, I currently read The three-body problem and I need make an effort to remember some of the names, because they are very exotic to me.
I use a mix of common names and (now that I think about it) Dickensian/Lemony Snicket style names - the type with multiple syllables that has a rhythm to it with a whimsical feel and sticks in your brain. Some characters are known by their last names only, some by their first names only depending on the faction/culture they belong to.

I also think that the genre the author writes in makes a difference - naming characters in an Epic Fantasy novel would be a completely different exercise from naming characters in a Horror story.
 

The Bluestocking

Bloody Mary in Blue
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
Messages
1,440
Location
The Afterlife
Scrivener has a pretty comprehensive name generator with multiple customisable options - here's a screen cap.

A) Select the gender (option for either, too)
B) I like the touch of an alliteration option.
C) This is the most impressive option as cultural names can be specified. There're more regional/cultural options but this is screen cap of what was there when I took the screen.
D) It will generate between 1 - 500 names for you depending on where you set the slider.

View attachment 57029

I've not needed to use it, but as you can see it's pretty amazing.

pH
Eh? Where do I find this in the Scrivener menu?
 

Mouse

ejtett.weebly.com
Joined
Jun 2, 2006
Messages
10,145
Location
in your face
Scrivener has a pretty comprehensive name generator with multiple customisable options - here's a screen cap.

A) Select the gender (option for either, too)
B) I like the touch of an alliteration option.
C) This is the most impressive option as cultural names can be specified. There're more regional/cultural options but this is screen cap of what was there when I took the screen.
D) It will generate between 1 - 500 names for you depending on where you set the slider.

View attachment 57029

I've not needed to use it, but as you can see it's pretty amazing.

pH
Randy Sheriff. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: Snort.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
108
Location
Standish, Michigan
Names are fun! I've never had any real difficulty with names :) . My sister used to be involved with RPG style, sort of fan fic, group writing and always came to me when she needed a new character name. She doesn't do any RPG writing anymore, but does have a few stories in various stages on incompletion, and still comes to me when she needs names for anything :ROFLMAO:.
 

Boaz

Happy Easter!
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
Messages
6,090
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.
I agree. Taking exact notes is worth it.

I knew someone who did research, in actual libraries back in the 1960s, and used to write down notes in her own words, instead of copying text. She felt adding this editing step would save time later. Then a year later when she actually wrote up her work for submission, she found the wording in her notes too clunky or imprecise... and she rewrote. The problem was that she was subconsciously very close to, and even used phrases from, the original texts she'd studied. After accusations of plagiarism, she changed her note taking style to the exact words written... and edited later.
 

sknox

Member and remember
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
1,268
Location
Idaho
I was in grad school in the late 70s and early 80s. I had thousands of hand-written note cards. These served me well as I developed courses to teach and, very occasionally, scholarly articles to write. I finally got rid of them just a few years ago. In doing so I joined generations of historians who accumulated whole rooms full of research notes, all of which vanished in the wake of their deaths. For a time I had hopes that the Internet would prove a repository of sorts, but the realities of university IT policies have proved that electronic storage is, with a few notable exceptions, no sure safeguard.
 

Dragonlady

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
243
i will just say that about 25000 words in I still haven't nailed this and just created a Mediaeval guild porter called Bob, who will unfortunately need a rename, and I think my main character's dad has 2 different names going on.
 

sknox

Member and remember
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
1,268
Location
Idaho
Same here, @Dragonlady. I have even less excuse because my MC is a historical figure--Emperor Frederick II. If you think having a given name simplifies things, think again.

Ol' Freddy boy was born Constantine. When he was seven (and an orphan) he was renamed Frederick Roger, the two names coming from his two grandfathers.

I could call him Frederick throughout, but that felt a little clumsy in dialog. Frederick grew up in Sicily, so why not go with the Italian version? Sure. That gives me Frederigo or Fredo for short. Can't use Fredo because of Mario Puzo, damn his eyes, and Frederigo isn't much better than Frederick. After some searching I found Fieto, which feels just about right.

But the story brings Frederick from Sicily up into Germany, where he becomes Friedrich or Fritz. OMG. I'm trying hard to find good story reasons to choose one name over another, but you should see my notes and early drafts, where his name changes roughly every paragraph.

And that's just one character!

You're not alone.
 

Astro Pen

Write now.
Joined
Jan 24, 2020
Messages
244
Location
Wales UK
Naming people is pretty easy. A well chosen name is half your character description out of the way.
Occasionally I write shorts where animals are characters and that is much harder. Naming wolves in a pack or corvids in a flock, as I am now by chance, is hard. You can make them up from individual behaviours. In the draft I have corvids named Sly, Finder, Noisy and Swoop. Which may or may not stick.

ps Simple can be very effective. John Book in Witness was a classic example of not getting carried away with fancy naming.
 
Last edited:
Top