I’m participating in the #LoveWritingChallenge by Katie Kling. For more information see the introduction post.
This weeks theme are Characters and today is all about How to find the names.
To make things easier for myself I will focus on the characters in three of my longer stories:
- The Unnamed One (with Michael)
- The Queen’s Wish
- The Neubrandenwolf
Though I might add more from other stories.
For stuff about our characters from Warlords feel free to check out our Facebook Page.
What’s in a name?
I’m horrible at naming people and cities and countries and have I mentioned characters?
I have either no idea what I should call someone or I keep ending up with the same names…
I already talked a bit about this when I mentioned my usage of Georg(e) and Richard, but that’s only part of the problem…
For most of my stories I go through real life names I have in my mind and then either use them as such (TUO/NBWolf) or change them to fit the story (TQW). I know I could use baby name pages and I sometimes do that, when I have a specific meaning in mind, but that’s rather rare.
Sometimes I try to use names that actually serve a purpose or have some kind of „hidden“ meaning, sometimes I just come across a name that fits the character and keep it that way – or change it if it doesn’t. Though I usually do the meaning part with surnames, at least, if I give people a surname. 😀
In TUO most of my surnames are references to movies and such: There is a family called „van Saken“ originating from „The Fosaken„, another is called „Carfax“ like the abbey where Dracula comes to live in London, another „Verlaine“, which was the name of Bela B.’s character in the German Zombie movie „Garden of Love“ and so on…
For TQW I not only added the rule „royals (or those working for the royal households or those wanting to be as grant as them) add H’s to names“ (e.g. that’s why she’s called Lihsa and not Lisa), but I also pretty much used my Mums family tree as inspiration for the names of a certain family, including her actual name. On the other hand did I make an unsubtle reference to Merlin and Athur by naming the main wizard character Emry and Aturo respectively (For those who don’t know this: Merlin was sometimes called Merlin Emrys and Arturo is the Spanish version of Arthur), not to mention that Sarah isn’t just a princess in name…
By the way: Rasha is an anagram of Sarah, because Nina is an anagram of Anni and I wanted to name those two after two girls by the same name, I know in real life. 😉
So, yeah, my names aren’t really original, but well, so far no one complained about them. 😀
See you tomorrow, when I talk about Quotes from my Characters.
Well, better have a good base and some plain but working names than another unpronouncable pseudo-Tolkienesce name only you can spell 😛
That’s right, even if it probably will get confusing at some point when I reuse the same names over and over again. 😉
Well, THAN you’ll have to start looking out for new ones ;-).
I once knew a writer who would do either that very thing (writing a new story but using old character names and confusing everyone) or constantly delete and re-upload the same story but with different character names.
I stopped giving her feedback after a while, that was pretty annoying.
But hey, there are so many nice names. Have you ever tried generating more just by using more foreign variations or flipping the gender?
(Like: What would be the male counterpart to a name like „Sarah“? Octavian, because he was the „princeps“ of Rome or some completely different name?)
That sounds like something you can do with a „self-insert“ story (you know the kind where you and your friends have a pre-described adventure? Been thinking about turning two of my stories into one of those…)
I know and if I really am stuck I’ll check other sources, but so far it works out for me…
Haven’t thought about it, as I knew she would be a girl (her brother is called Konrahd by the way) and then I remembered that Sarah meant princess…but in general it seems like an interesting idea.
Though there is this one character in TQW that will probably be called „Holga“ as she was supposed to become „Holger“ 😀
For me, „self-insert“ was always about „putting myself in a story, most often disguised as Mary Sue“ 😀
But I guess you mean something else?
Does „Holga“ exist? 😀 For someone who lived in Saxony for 13 years, there is no difference between those names (at least in terms of speaking/hearing) :D.
I know, but I’m not entirely sure what else to call them…
It was a thing back in the day, where you could order little picture books for children and tell them which family members and friends you wanted to be included and the character names were changed accordingly (e.g. the mum had your mums name, your best friend was in it, etc…)
I haven’t checked, but that wouldn’t matter for me in that case. And yes, speaking-wise it’s basically the same, not just in Saxony. 😀
Customized character books :D. I never had one but the idea is nice…
Just call her Hulda :D.
Exactly! I’ve thought about turning two of my stories into one, but haven’t had the chance to get around to do it yet…
I had one or still do…about a horse-adventure. 😀
Nah, Holga 😉 It’s just as horrible as Justina for Justin 😉
Just start! <3
Okay, if you want to keep it horrible, go ahead 😀
The stories are done, I just have to make them a bit more generic…
She’s a horrible person, why should she get a nice name? 😉
Oh, I love to give the horrible ones the sweetest names… Why not? 😀
Sure, but for her have I gotten used to Holga, and it would not just fit the „female Holger“, but also the naming convention when you take the name as „variation“ of Olga. 😉
I kind of like how you pick names for your characters, even if there’s not a real system behind. But you think about how to name them (at least, most of the time, I guess), and I like that you name characters after friends and family.
I always like to get inspired by movies, tv shows etc. In „Barfuß durch die Nacht“ my main female character is called Rachel, and her love interest has the family name Green. So if they WOULD get married and she would take his name, she would be Rachel Green, like Jennifer Aniston in „Friends“. This is not a coincidence 😀
Yeah, I do put some thought into them, but I do toy a little with names before a settle on one. And if I don’t write the name down then it’s very likely to change as I can’t remember it. >_<
Like the idea with Rachel Green 😀