Saturday, September 5, 2009

Character Names

I am currently letting ideas for my next ms run around in my head. It’s an exciting time – a fresh story building, new characters to meet, crazy new villains and plots.

The heritage of the characters is going to be an integral part of this story. I’ve got folks of Scottish, Chippewa and Comanche heritage interacting this time. It should be an interesting plot, with the clues for solving the major dilemma coming from pieces of the characters’ cultures.

Coming up with names for the characters is always fun. Thankfully, the Internet exists, and I don’t have to rely on only my small city’s resources for information! There are some really great names from these cultures. Ayasha, Nocona, Migisi, Nokomis, and Keezheekoni are a few of my faves. Gorgeous, aren’t they? I can’t wait to see who will show up in my ms!

Where do you go for your character names? Internet, real life, books? I’d love to hear some stories of how you find identities for your characters.

10 comments:

  1. Some of mine are adapted from real life (I'll never tell...). Others come from baby name and linguistic web sites. When writing YA, I look at the most popular names by birth year. I tend to favor old English or Irish names. It's a weakness.

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  2. Isn't it great how much help the Internet can be? You've got an awesome idea to search by birth years for YA. That would be good for historicals too. I love the Irish names as well. They're so lyrical. :)

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  3. I'm constantly using this site... http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/ . I find it has a huge variety of names. I also use, funny enough, the social security website, since they have the popular names for years going back to the 1880's. http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/

    Since I write steampunk, most of my characters have traditional Victorian or Scottish names. When writing other genres, I tend to lean towards traditionally Irish & Scottish names, as well as Norse names.

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  4. The Social Security site is a great idea! I never would have thought of that one :) Your character names really work for your steampunk stories. Thanks for the great sites, Calista!

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  5. I get my idea's for names from video games. RPG's to be precise. They have such unique names that who cares if it doesn't have a meaning, it's a fictional character. I also use Roman/Greco mythology to assist with names for my characters. They have a tendancy to take you another time and place, and what a perfect place to start when you're writing fiction.

    Keep up the good work.

    Layna

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  6. Video games! What a great idea - RPG's are so rich in characters. I like the mythology idea as well. There are some really intriguing names there - especially with some of the lesser known characters. And they have such a nice flow to them. Great thoughts. Thanks Layna!

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  7. I like the phone book. I seem to also like names early in the alphabet. I need to broaden my name horizons. :) There are some great baby name sites though.

    Jean

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  8. Another great idea, Jean! I've used phone books in my classroom for kids. They close their eyes, open to a random page and point for first name, do it again for the last name. They're only allowed 1 "do over".

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  9. I look at lists of "Most Popular Girls/Boys Names for the year that the characters were born. Works every time. I stay away from any name that has a personal history for me as I find the name comes with too much baggage.

    Glad to have found your blog!

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  10. Hi Elspeth and welcome! I totally agree on the baggage issue with names. It's tough to get past the image I associate with certain names. As a teacher, I've got a few names I'll probably never use. :)

    The most popular lists are a great idea for getting names that work for the age of your characters. Thanks for the ideas!

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