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Saturday, April 17, 2010

N is for Names

I totally got the idea for this post from Cheri. Everyone needs to have names for the characters. If you have been able to write a story without the character's names I will... Oh. Wait. Okay, so I DID write a short story and the characters did not have names, but that doesn't count. The point is most of the time people in stories have got to have names.

There can be very many reasons behind the names of my peeps, and each individual story tends to have a theme behind the reason for me choosing the names. Did that make sense? Good.

In Blackburn's Prisoner and Thanet's Curse I chose names based on their meaning, and their origin. This was the first time I have ever done this (writing high fantasy I tend to make up names instead.) It was fantastic! I came across some of my favorite names, like:

Cynferth: Welsh, meaning Beautiful Chief. Wait? Really?? Snap. I thought it meant something else. Oh well. It's still a really cool name.
Cenweard: English, meaning Wise Guardian. I LOVE this name. Sadly, I could never name my child this because he would be made fun of so bad.
Nadra: Swahili, meaning Special. This fits her perfectly. I was trying to find a name that started with 'N' that had its origins in Africanishness. And it needed to be short and I wanted it to mean something like 'unusual' so I was very excited.

Then in Haunbrinth everyone is named after real-life people. Not much to tell there. And yes, I did get permission from everyone. Especially the one girl Steph, because she turned out to be a mad angry person with issues.

Cinnamon and Calamus: or Why You Shouldn't Trust Spakes I have peeps divided in two. First there are spakes, who are named after people in the Bible.

Obadiah: Hebrew, God's worker
Solomon: Hebrew, Peace
Micaiah : Hebrew, who is like God?

Sweet! I didn't know what they meant before, I just picked them 'cause they're Bible names. That's pretty cool. Everyone else has weird names that come from I don't know where. Some are middle names of the people they're based on, and some people are named things like Scotch, or Emdy, or Jacqueline, just because that's who they are.

Oy. I need to stop having so many stories that are just floating around.
Oh! My sis told me about these! They are magical.

So what about you? Is there any specific reason you pick out names for your characters, or do they just come to you? Oh, and what was the weirdest name you ever used for one of your characters?

16 comments:

Talli Roland said...

I try to pick names that suit the character, and names that readers will remember - oh, and I try not to have names that sound too similar or start with the same letter.

Weirdest name? Um... Ram!

Mia said...

Hello from your newest stalker :~D

Normally I just choose a random name meaning to research later and then end up kind of falling in love with it. Most of the time it works out pretty well :~)

Weirdest name would have to be...um... Felix or maybe Rafe? I don't know, most of my names are pretty normal :P I'll have to try and find a weird one now

Laura Marcella said...

Great names! I love choosing names for my characters. I keep programs from high school and college graduations for name ideas. I also get names from reading the movie credits.

Btw, If you lived in Hollywood, you could name your kid Cenweard and get away with it. Probably all the kids in his class would have more unusual names!

sarahjayne smythe said...

I hate choosing names. I'm a big fan of pronouns. :) And I wanted to let you know that I'm over here following you from your sister's blog.

AchingHope said...

@Talli Roland: Good point. If someone can't remember the name that's a problem.

@Mia: Welcome new stalker :D Rafe... I like it.

@Laura: I've done the movie credits thing (there are some REALLY bizarre names) but I didn't think about the whole program thing. Hmm... Good thing I kept some of those things around. I just might use that idea.

@sarahjayne: Yes, pronouns are good. Sometimes I find myself using them too much and have to yell at myself. Welcome! Thanks for commenting.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Ooooh, good question! Most of my names just come to me and often enough they are names that i've associated with a certain person or physical appearance. Almost like a name- stereotype:)

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh, I love those bookshelves! I can just picture an entire room of them. Wouldn't that be amazing?

As for names, we always have a visual of the character and there's usually a name that just sort of fits that person perfectly. I like the idea of assigning names based on their meaning, but that's probably too advanced for us! Ha!

Blam said...


The "invisible bookshelves": My cousins have some. I wants me them too.

Weirdest character name: Schnookendorf. Age 5 or so (me, not the character). Long... well, maybe not so long, but amusing... or... no, not really amusing story behind it, either. I still have sentimental attachment to it, though.

VW: crying — ?!?!? Either my laptop has been possessed by Roy Orbison or it's just feeling melancholy, but either way I'm freaked out.

Blam said...


sarahjayne smythe: I hate choosing names. I'm a big fan of pronouns. :)

So what do you think of the new She & Him album? 8^)

VW: calsangy — All bloody on the West Coast?

E. Elle said...

The names just kind of come to me; I don't need to put a lot of thought into it. First names aren't too strange but I've managed to come up with some weird last names.

I have an award for you on my blog!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I TOTALLY, DESPERATELY, WILDLY want those shelves!! :-)

Christina Farley said...

For character's names I look at the meaning and the way it sounds to fit their personality.

And I love those shelves!

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

Yeah! You found the shelves! Woot!

Okay. You know - sometimes the names come to me fully integrated with the characters. Most of the times I flip through my amazing baby name book until the right name leaps out at me. Occasionally someone will give me a name that works perfectly - Like Roderigo and Alejandro the Pirates!

Weirdest name? .................. (these are thinking dots) .................................. I thought Rizzelle was weird, but then other people had used it on the forum in YoVille which kinda made me mad, since I thought I had invented it. I still think it's my most unusual. Actually, no Quoren is probably the most. Or Yarrian or Zirian. Pretty much most of the names from my Quoren novel.

VW: scexp - I likes allodem scexp dat one.

AchingHope said...

@Sonshine: WRITE YOUR QUOREN STORY OR ELSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Blam said...


Is a Quoren one more than a Quorum? And is it followed by a Quoroo, a Quorip, and a Quoraq?

Have I just blown your mind?

VW: greven — 1. A green seven. 2. Little-known alternate spelling of gryphon, kind-of like Steven and Stephen. 3. What follows a grevum and precedes a grevoo, grevip...

AchingHope said...

@Blam *mind blown*