Names…names…names!

 Hey, Choppy here. I came early from school and thought I’ll share with all of you about some of the stuff on my fictionpress forum: “What about the manga section?” Contrary to the title, we actually don’t talk about mangas all that much. In fact, it’s infested with tons of writing advice (with randomness as well, but those are fun to read too).

The best way to know you’ve come across useful info on the forum? When the posts are long. It’s not hard to miss. You’ll have to go through tons of the pages to find them though, so I thought it would be nice to compile it on here.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

DO WE ACT AS OUR NAME? OR DO WE FILL THE NAME’S REP OURSELVES?

Everyone has trouble figuring out their character’s name. I know, for me, I go though babynames.com all the time. Names always seem to be the thing- you want a name that fits. That will be remembered.

TheArchimage wrote this about it and I thought it would be really useful:

“When naming characters, I typically raid a book of baby names for ideas, especially ones that include meanings and origin. I try to have the meaning of the name at least vaguely relate to the character. I have a few other rules about names, as well, some of which are listed below:Minor characters will have names from the same origin, while major and main characters will have name origins different from the norm to help them stand out. If I have a scene involving Ronald, Frank, Bill, and Mikhail, it’s immediately clear who is the most important character in the room even if it’s the very first chapter. This can also help develop the characters of the main movers and shakers of the story. This is of limited use in manga stories taking place in Japan; their homogeneous culture means basically everyone will have a Japanese name.

The first name is exactly one syllable shorter or longer than the last name. These names sound the most natural to the human ear and flow more easily than names where the number of syllables is the same or the difference is greater than one.

Any main character with a name longer than two syllables should have a nickname two syllables or shorter. Any name longer than two syllables is too difficult for other characters to shout out in the heat of the moment (such as when the character is put into mortal peril or has done something that really ticks someone off).

Unless you have enough characters that it can’t be avoided, no two characters of the same “tier” (main-major-minor) should have names that start with the same letter, and above all no two names should be nearly identical. Anna and Annie are too similar for a reader to easily distinguish between them, but even Aaron and Addison can cause confusion over several hundred pages.”

 

 Okay, so hopefully that helps some of you guys! I’ll try posting other advice people came up with on the forum and bringing it over here when I have time (going through all those forum pages take a while.) If for some reason you can’t wait and would like to find the advice and follow the conversation on the forum, the link is below.

http://forum.fictionpress.com/topic/4689/1728166/1/

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sonia
    May 19, 2011 @ 16:09:45

    I go to babynames.com all the time. I never heard that particular advice on names, but all my MC’s have short names. Mostly that’s because I am lazy and I know I am going to by typing my MC’s name over and over and over and over . . . I want a name that fits, but is also easy to type. 😉

    Reply

  2. dusty
    May 19, 2011 @ 23:24:22

    That is really good advice. By the way, that’s a good photo of you, Monica.

    Reply

  3. dusty
    May 19, 2011 @ 23:26:54

    Oh, Also, Shakespeare wouldcreate his own names to the meaning he wanted. I think I mighttry that too. Usually he did it from Latin.

    Reply

  4. Monica "Choppy" Nguyen
    May 20, 2011 @ 06:39:26

    @Sonia haha yeah, every time I start a new story, I always just think that I should write “A said this.” and then replace the “A” later with the name…but when I get caught up on babynames.com, I start to get excited…i reeeeaaallly want to use those names NOW! haha

    I also tend to keep names short and simple. And kind of ordinary.

    @Dusty thanks for the compliment! haha. i just picked that picture cuz i realized that’s the only pic i have of JUST me. I’m always with someone in my other pics. lol.

    Yes, Shakespeare would make up his own names. He also made up words I think. Or was that Dr. Suess? haha.

    Reply

  5. sonia
    May 20, 2011 @ 10:55:18

    That happens to me too. Most times I end up leave a blank like: _______ and playing with combinations until I find one I like.

    Reply

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