Where do you find your names?

Discussion in 'Authors' Hangout' started by Warden-Yarn15, Oct 10, 2021.

  1. Humilatron

    Humilatron Really Experienced CHYOA Backer

    My names tend to come from those baby girl/boy sites as well as Behind-your-name, wikipedia, etc.

    There’s also a site called 1000 Most Popular names or something like that and I sometimes get a number random generator to pick out a name.
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  2. Warden-Yarn15

    Warden-Yarn15 Really Really Experienced

    Yes, quick Google searches of <nationality> names, or baby names, are reliable enough I suppose.

    Still, there is a fun quirk to having a meaning behind a name.
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  3. Zingiber

    Zingiber Really Really Experienced

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  4. Dansak

    Dansak Really Really Experienced

    If I can't think of names off the top of my head I use a random name generator. I do put fr too much effort into names though, I struggle with them for ages!
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  5. totallynot

    totallynot Virgin

    Lately I've turned to Behindthename.com, in some cases if the character is loosely based on someone I might use their first name or a pun of their name.
  6. mask

    mask Experienced

    For me the most important thing when picking a name is to avoid the don'ts especially if its going to be the name of a prominent character who's name is going to appear a lot:

    1. not overly long or otherwise hard to remember
    2. no complicated or weird spelling
    3. try avoiding supper duper common names for MCs or the MC's lover (this is personal thing because I have a super common name and it's always a turnoff when I see my own name appear)

    Of course, the opposite might be more desire-able if it's meant to be a unique and pivotal character in the story plot that needs to be distinct (think Dumbledore)

    Other than that I go digging in the name generators or the names for other languages. If inspiration doesn't strike and I want an exotic name I may pick a random obscure language. type in a word which has the thematic meaning in line with the character of the person and then change the outcome to sound more name like with a more accessible spelling.

    Also since we're adding facts about countries I can add that a lot of Scandinavians are really sick and tired of their generic, "Johansson" or "Pettersson" (also even the girls will inherit the "son" last name (the situation might be different in Iceland but don't know the details well enough to specify). IT' to the point where I've even met people who are embarrassed about their common last names. So many, many years ago a trend was started where people would start changing their last names to something nature related, like the branch of a specific tree, or certain vally or mountain full of xplant or ytree, mentions of rivers or streams are not uncommon either. You get the point. I looked it up to give an example and arrived at a unique last name generator for Sweeds who are looking to find a new name last name for themselves and register it with the authorities. There are even instructions on how to go about it.


    some examples of two famous Swedish authors: Selma Lagerlöf and Astrid Lindgren, which literally means Bay leaves and linden branch and there are plenty more examples that can be easily found among politicians.
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  7. catfish27

    catfish27 Really Experienced

    I won't link to it because I don't want to be seen as picking on the author, but there's a new story here which appears to take place in the present and features an 18-year-old woman who the author has given the name... Fanny.

    That's such an atypical name for someone born in 2005 that it's giving me serious cognitive dissonance. I'm halfway tempted to add a chapter solely to explain either why her parents gave her that name, or why she uses it as a nickname.

    (Fanny is not in the Top 1000 of names given to girls in the U.S. in 2005. Here are some names that are in the top 1000: Maryjane as one word, Zion, Finley, Amaris, Marin, Charlie, Armani, Shreya, Sky, Areli, Unique, and Citlali.)
  8. Dansak

    Dansak Really Really Experienced

    Not sure if it's the same in other countries, but in the UK Fanny is another very common word for vagina. Before it was linked to genitalia, Fanny was a popular name, albeit old fashioned and not in common use since the early 1800s.
  9. Gambio

    Gambio CHYOA Guru

    I usually start out by giving characters placeholder names with the intention of changing them later when their personality is more defined and I have a better understanding what I want from them.

    But this is coming from someone who names characters Mari Beta and Fisti Cuffs, so yeah
  10. catfish27

    catfish27 Really Experienced

    In the U.S., "fanny" is the butt, although it's kind of an old-fashioned slang term -- probably most often heard these days in the phrase "fanny pack," which I understand is called "bum bag" in some places.
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  11. Dansak

    Dansak Really Really Experienced

    Ah yes, I've heard of a fanny pack, and we in the UK do call them bum bags.
  12. Dissonant Soundtrack

    Dissonant Soundtrack Really Really Experienced

    There was a girl in my son's daycare named "Khaleesi" who was obviously named well before the final season...
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  13. Yurisenpai

    Yurisenpai Experienced

    I use yellow pages.
  14. I tend to make rather liberal use of google to be honest. I decide my character is an exchange student from Egypt in an American school, I just google popular girl names and surnames in egypt and put two of them together that sound good. "Alright, her name will be Amunet Ebeid." A bonus to it being written is I don't actually need to worry about learning proper pronunciation either.
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  15. Cuchuilain

    Cuchuilain Really Really Experienced

    I was reading recently about the author Henry James, and how he would read the obituary sections in newspapers to get names to mix up (first name from one and surname from another), and also use the actual obituaries as a source for preliminary backstory sketches. Genius, I thought.
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  16. Dansak

    Dansak Really Really Experienced

    I love this idea.
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  17. street0

    street0 Virgin CHYOA Backer

    Usually I want the name to be as generic as possible to avoid accidentally using a real person's distinctive name. For that, I think of their age and look up what baby names were popular in their year of birth. It's usually more useful to look at which names were popular 20 years ago rather than which names are popular today
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  18. vyksin

    vyksin Virgin CHYOA Backer

    In real life, I am absolutely horrible at remembering names. I can tell you the favorite transformer of the boy who sat two rows back and one seat over in 2nd grade and why, but for the life of me, his name had no relation and was quickly lost to time. I'm still that way today. I can tell you all sorts of random facts about clients and stars, but have to search on a computer to find their arbitrary moniker.

    Therefore, when I'm writing a character, I have a few key traits I usually build them with then I find a name with a similar meaning. That can mean something like 'Rose' because she loves 'The Bachelor' TV series or 'Matilda' because she loves to fight. That way I have some connection between their name and their character and it just makes me feel more comfortable.
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