31 Days To Surviving NaNoWriMo - Naming Things

Friday, October 12, 2012

To start from the beginning of this series, go here.


They can be perfectly fitting, or make a good character seem lackluster.  The problem is that coming up with names can be difficult.

So what names do you need to come up with?

Novel Title
Thankfully, this doesn't need to happen right away (which is lucky for me, because I can't decide on a title anyway).  Some people come up with a title, then turn it into a story.  Some people write the story, and draw a title from there.  Either way works.

Setting Names
Places need names too!  Unless you're writing a book to intentionally make fun of something (a la Monty Python movies), settings like "that big town", "the bald guy's house", and "the continent populated by Wood Elves" just aren't going to cut it.

Places you could name:
     -the world
     -the continent
     -the country/colony
     -the state/province
     -the region
     -the city/village/town/etc.
     -various establishments (homes, schools,  shops, inns, etc.)
     -natural landmarks (forests, bodies of water, mountains, deserts, etc.)

Character Names
This is a biggie, obviously.  Characters need names.  You may want to come up with common threads among names.  For example, all the men in my FMC's (female main character, for those of you not familiar with the lingo) family have first names ending with -an, and the women's names end with -a.  In addition, in her mother's family, the men's names end with -il and the women's names end with -ie.  It's a custom I created for their families, and ties them together as a unit.  It's something I've decided to carry over among other families of similar social standing as well.  Sometimes characters' names reflect where they're from (Kell of the Isles), what they do (Eric Spell-Slinger), or a hobby they have (Orwyn Mead-Lover).  Inspiration can be found in SO many places.

Names can come from many places.  My FMC's name was actually the name of a character I had created in Skyrim and Oblivion.  I just liked the sound of it.  Other characters' names (like that of her great-uncle) just kind of came to me, and I thought, "Wow, I really like how that sounds."  Sometimes, like in my -an trend, you can work from there, but I did have trouble with quite a few of the names.  Some names I liked, but they  just didn't sound right with the last names I had.

Some people like to use generators to come up with names too, and that's totally fine.  Generators can come up with some really fun, wacky, awesome names!

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