Character Names

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Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:07 am Post


Didn't even know about the Scrivener facility which is fine if all you want is a name.

I use a website called Fake Name Generator because it does what Scrivener does but also creates the beginnings of a profile which includes things like fake address, phone number, birthday, age, star sign (some care), email (real), employer, height, weight, blood type, car they drive and favourite colour.

Much of it is pointless (especially to science fiction writers like me) but not all of it and there's a bulk name generator which allows you to download many names into a spreadsheet which, assuming you know anything about spreadsheets, allows you to manipulate it and make some of the useless data useful. I downloaded around 3000 names and used the address data, which is fairly pointless in my scenario, to create a home planet for each name and so allow me to have a "cast of thousands" and so a way of referring back to minor characters and keep them consistent. Of course, I don't really have thousands of characters but hopefully you get the idea ... in my first book I am almost certainly up in the low hundreds but in the second and third I will likely have many more because they will feature an awful lot of people fighting and dying.



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Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:16 am Post

There's also the Character Sketch Template Sheet that can be used via Profile > New from Template > Character Sketch. As the character sketch template is a Scrivener document it can be revised and enhanced to suit one's own interest. My own updated template includes all those details you get from an external website plus almost 40 more pages of prompt points for character details include MBPT questions (and a link to a web site) and down to potentially trivial details like favourite colour of toenail polish. Of course one can use the half-page pro forma template that is part of Scrivener.
Techie details in case I forget

Scrivener 3.0.1 (966)
Mac OS X 10.13.3
Scrivener 1.1.1 (20170800)
iOS 9.3.5/11

Rufus Coppertop
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:41 am Post

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

Wow! :shock: I've been using Scrivener for a few years now and I had NO idea that was there.

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Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:52 am Post

Back when I used to write, I would pay particular attention to cadence in selecting character names: ... haracters/

I also liked having some form of meaning behind names. The Dark had a police officer called Nick Scott investigating a kid with acute fear of the dark (i.e., nyctophobia, also known as scotophobia).

A good example of this I've seen elsewhere is the film Gattaca, where pretty much the etymology of the major characters first names gives hints at their roles:
Vincent Freeman: conquering... free man
Jerome Eugene Morrow: saved... well-born... the next day
Anton: priceless / praiseworthy
Irene: peace

The Name Generator in the Windows version of Scrivener is a lot cooler than the Mac one, and lets you look these meanings up, or even search for names by meaning.
"Some dice only have sixes." nom, 19 Oct 2013
"Piggy, I'm beginning to wonder if you are the best person to take advice from." Jaysen, 26 Sept 2014

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Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:48 pm Post

I've only just started on Scrivener so I haven't really used the name generator. However, since I have a multinational cast I tend to research their origins and use names from those regions. Some of my characters adopt aliases so I would pick things that speak to them as characters.

Sometimes a role will come before anything else, so I allude to it with the name as well.

Here are a few examples

Cormac Baines: Son of Azrael, the angel of death.
Cormac means 'son of the wheel' or 'son of the crow' which fit both the position and the fact that in my version he had black wings and the fact that time is often compared to a wheel.
Baines was referring to the fact that in the Scottish folktale 'Milk white Doo' the dove pronounces bones as banes in his song.

Lilith Blake: This is a name taken on by the character deliberately. Lilith is the name of Adam's first wife in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and refers to her own rebellion against her mother, while Blake means 'dark' referring to her hair.

Kara Corvo: A witch with a crow for a familar, a name given to her by the above character. Kara is a pun on a European name meaning 'precious' and the Japanese word 'Karasu' meaning 'crow'. Corvo is the genus crows and ravens fall under.

Rosemary: A name given to a runaway by another character. It means 'flower of the sea' and refers to the fact that she seemed at home working on a ship.

Asian names: This has its own note because of the mechanics involved in their writing. I have a moderate understanding of Japanese so I'd build their names from Kanji.

Kairan Seiryu: 青竜海嵐 Seiryuu Kairan A sea-dwelling storm dragon of Asian inspiration. The name uses the characters for (as typed in Kanji) Blue, Dragon, Sea, Storm. He's known to the island dwellers in his domain as Kairyu (which simply means 'Sea Dragon')

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Fri May 19, 2017 8:23 pm Post

A few of my creative sources for names:

    - Facebook
    - Old English, latin, & folk.
    - The old dusty tomes in the back of my local library that nobody reads.
    - Make one up (an empty name) based on what my character does or is.
A philosophical youth.