Character Names

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Porkchop
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Wed May 06, 2015 3:35 am Post

I was starting the outline of my story and wanted to know how other people handle naming their characters; primary, secondary and fluff characters?
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AmberV
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Wed May 06, 2015 3:51 am Post

The Tools/Writing Tools/Name Generator menu command. ;)
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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Porkchop
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Wed May 06, 2015 4:11 am Post

AmberV wrote:The Tools/Writing Tools/Name Generator menu command. ;)


I am new to Scrivener, as in I downloaded it yesterday, what is that of which you speak? :shock:
"Thou art a soldier, therefore seldom rich."
~~~~Timon of Athens (Act I. Scene II) by William Shakespeare

"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
~~~~General George Patton

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AmberV
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Wed May 06, 2015 4:45 am Post

Try that menu command from inside a project, in Tools, by the Window menu.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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Porkchop
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Wed May 06, 2015 5:05 am Post

Thanks, I found it!! Best tool ever!!!
"Thou art a soldier, therefore seldom rich."
~~~~Timon of Athens (Act I. Scene II) by William Shakespeare

"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
~~~~General George Patton

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Briar Kit
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Wed May 06, 2015 8:21 am Post

Porkchop wrote:I was starting the outline of my story and wanted to know how other people handle naming their characters; primary, secondary and fluff characters?


When I write my own work, I am a pantser: I neither plot a storyline nor have a list of characters, places, etc in mind.

I work on the basis that if a character has the strength to force their way into the story in the first place, they will arrive with their own name (and tell me what their name is).

I have never used a name generator or had to stop to think about what a character should be called.

Writing down their name for the first time is as instinctive for me as I hope it is for you to know what word is missing at the end of this ________.

I also like to include one character in each story whose name is not given in the text. This, I think, allows each reader to imbue that character's life with additional layers of their own personal conceits.

All characters should be defined by each reader's prejudices, passions, and perceptions. If readers share a single unnuanced view of a character (let alone of a story), I feel I have failed the character and the readers.

IMO, all characters and stories should be open to interpretation...
http://briarkitesme.com/2014/11/03/writ ... ing-minds/

Sans exegesis, a novel is reduced to being a directory of events.
Last edited by Briar Kit on Wed May 06, 2015 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rontarrant
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Wed May 06, 2015 11:10 am Post

I use a mixture of techniques. If I have a general feel for the character up front and know more or less what their role will be in the story, I do a reverse look-up of name meanings (http://www.meaning-of-names.com/search/ ... x=6&gndr=2) and peruse the list until a name jumps out at me.

With other characters, I do what Briar Kit does.

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reepicheep
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Wed May 06, 2015 2:30 pm Post

Like Briar Kit I "pants" when I write however the names of characters are important and I put considerable effort into naming them. Occasionally I use Scrivener's in-built name generator feature but have never taken one name from the list. What I have done is take the forename from one generated suggestion and the surname from another to create a single name for use in the novel. The greatest value of the name generator is for naming characters from other cultures than the one a novel is set in.
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Mon May 11, 2015 2:53 pm Post

reepicheep wrote:The greatest value of the name generator is for naming characters from other cultures than the one a novel is set in.


Couldn't agree more. If it is a character from my own culture, from a time period I'm familiar with and with certain class and character traits... OK, the name usually creeps upon me. But if it is a Polish Jew, that have a name, but as a member of the Belgian resistance take another name that has a resemblance to his birth name. It is suddenly not so obvious. Then a name generator and some Wikipedia searching can be very useful.
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Mon May 11, 2015 4:10 pm Post

Right now I am attempting to write a military science fiction story, so there are lots of grunts that need names. While I know that many of these soldiers will die, I feel I owe them a name and some personality. That said, I don't feel like these characters necessarily have names in my head, though they've got DEFINITE personalities. Right now I am still world building, so I might change my tune once I get started.
"Thou art a soldier, therefore seldom rich."
~~~~Timon of Athens (Act I. Scene II) by William Shakespeare

"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
~~~~General George Patton

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Donald McCaig
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Sat Dec 26, 2015 4:13 pm Post

Dear Fellow Writers,
I write historical fiction and fiction/non fiction about sheepdogs. Whenever possible I use real names because they ground my fiction and force my integrity. I took all the names in my first historical, The Butte Polka, which took place in Butte Montana in 1946 from a list of men killed in the mines in that year. For Jacob's Ladder, a civil war novel, I used names from the regiments my fictional characters might have joined. When describing sheepdog trials, I wrote real handlers with a copy of the page where I'd use their names and invited them to suggest the dog they'd be running. Interestingly, some handlers chose a dog who'd been dead for a decade or so.

To chose the name for a Virginia slave dealer, I went to the University of Virginia's special collectios and found (but didn't read) the records of Silas Omohundru and used his name for a fictional character who fell in love with one of his slaves. A couple years after J.L. was published a friend said, "How did you know about Omohundru?"
"I didn't."
Turns out the real Omohundru fell in love with a slave, had children by her and freed her and them before he died - in the same year my fictional character died.

Using real names gets spooky some times.



Donald McCaig

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Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:32 am Post

Recently, I've been harvesting names from all the spam emails (for ED and other things) I keep getting.

How could I not use "Talia Wadlington" for a character set in Edwardian times?
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Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:16 pm Post

klcorridon wrote:Recently, I've been harvesting names from all the spam emails (for ED and other things) I keep getting.

How could I not use "Talia Wadlington" for a character set in Edwardian times?


That's also what I used to do, when I was on Windows. The porn-spam names were particularly inventive. (Since I moved to OS X, disappointingly the quantity and quality - at least of the names - has declined steeply. Not sure why.)
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:49 am Post

As a relatively new football fan (soccer for my fellow Americans), I've been using soccer player names. Great amount of diversity. I also like to pick out a picture of the character so I have a good feel for who they are, even if I never describe them in detail -- at least *I* know mentally and avoid incorrect hints.
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Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:25 am Post

Depends on genre for me. In fantasy, I like to borrow from Hebrew words and give them a twist.
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