Questions tagged [naming]

Questions about creating and using names.

10
votes
4answers
721 views

What is the art of designing names?

If you read names from popular novels you feel like the names define characters. They fit perfectly to the personality of character. For an e.g. Harry Potter, Robert Langdon, Jason Bourne, etc. I ...
4
votes
3answers
166 views

Why do authors use variations on a character's name within a single story?

I am having trouble understanding why authors use multiple version of a character's name in the same story. I feel it can make it harder to follow the story. Why do writers sometimes write the same ...
18
votes
4answers
4k views

Would it be a copyright violation if I made a character’s full name refer to a song?

I want to write a realistic fiction book similar to Thomas Hardy’s works, where he used techniques and Biblical references (they were also called allusions) to make his writing more meaningful, and to ...
4
votes
2answers
73 views

In a stage play, how should the script refer to minor characters whose names are irrelevant?

Problem I'm writing a play that includes a number of minor characters who only exist for a scene or two. They are defined by their personality traits, not by their professions, and their names are ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

In fiction, can I write about Downing College, Cambridge? [duplicate]

I have included, in my fictional book, several mentions about Downing College, Cambridge. Now they have a fete on their lawns. Two Russians are killed there during the fete. No mention of staff ...
8
votes
2answers
699 views

Character had a different name in the past. Which name should I use in a flashback?

One of my characters has a flashback to when he was 5 years old. At the time, he didn't have a name (he goes by a physical description instead). What's the correct way to refer to him in this ...
7
votes
1answer
791 views

Referring to a character in 3rd person when they have amnesia

A section of a story I am writing is being told in third person from the perspective of a character who does not know anything about herself due to amnesia. The reader is also unaware of anything ...
7
votes
3answers
152 views

Is it ok if some of my city names are the same as the ones in other books/series/video games/ pieces of work?

My book has a few place names that are also present in other pieces of media, for example, one of my cities is called "Manalin" and I just found out that there is a planet in Star Wars also called ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I introduce the names of fantasy creatures to the reader?

In the story, these fantasy creatures are everyday animals that most people in the story already know. How can I introduce them in an natural way that instantly makes readers remember their names? The ...
11
votes
1answer
910 views

How to name indistinguishable henchmen in a screenplay?

A large group of indistinguishable henchman feature throughout my screenplay. What is an acceptable naming method for them? Let's say I wanna call them 'Red shirts'. Can I ... A) Call them all RED ...
16
votes
11answers
6k views

How can I make names more distinctive without making them longer?

In the point-of-view culture in my story, all of the women in priestly families have two-syllable names beginning with vowels. (There are reasons for this, but they're completely tangential to my ...
9
votes
4answers
226 views

How to create place names that feel like they belong to a culture?

As somewhat of a follow-up to my previous question: How to create a consistent feel for character names in a fantasy setting? Once I have named the characters in a given setting, how do I create ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

How to create a consistent feel for character names in a fantasy setting?

Recently while doing some world-building for a role-playing game with a friend we were seriously struggling with naming character consistently. By consistently I mean make the names feel as though ...
10
votes
9answers
2k views

Stereotypical names

In every country, some names are particularly common: 'John' in the UK, 'Juan' in Spain, 'Ivan' in Russia. Those names are common almost to the point of being stereotypical (consider 'John Doe'). If ...
2
votes
5answers
150 views

What to call a nameless character in a 3rd person narrative?

How do I present a nameless character in a 3rd person narrative who has never known his parents? And has never had extended human interaction with anyone long enough to even be called “Boy” or “Child.”...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

Naming Characters after Friends/Family

I drafted a book two years ago that I'm now polishing to publish. When I drafted it, for speed's sake, I named one of my primary characters after an old school friend who I'm still in contact with on ...
10
votes
5answers
842 views

What should the omniscient narrator call a character?

Let there be a character. Let the character's name be, for example, Alexander. Now, Alexander's parents call him 'Sasha'. His friends call him 'Xander'. His girlfriend calls him 'Alex'. In formal ...
8
votes
3answers
351 views

Naming things the POV character doesn't know

My middle-grade novel is third person with one primary and one secondary viewpoint character. Sometimes the narrator hovers a bit more, sometimes the narrator is more in the character's head. The ...
9
votes
4answers
407 views

How to tag distinct options/entities without giving any an implicit priority or suggested order?

An example of the problem in an aggravated form surrounds the controversy of France changing ‘mother’ and ‘father’ to ‘parent 1’ and ‘parent 2’ in official paperwork - where the controversy suggests ...
20
votes
9answers
2k views

Every character has a name - does this lead to too many named characters?

My tendency when writing is to give every character a name. Even the most minor ones. It says something about a nobleman when he knows every guard and stablehand by name, and it's something I want. So ...
0
votes
1answer
70 views

Giving nonsensical names to things [closed]

https://dgrayman.fandom.com/wiki/Innocence Well, I always thought that the name Innocence in D.Gray-Man never made much sense. It's not explained anywhere why it's called that, so I always thought it ...
-1
votes
2answers
72 views

Naming non-living things [closed]

I know two ways of naming things. One is to use latin prefixes and suffixes and try to have them match the object you are naming with its definition. The other is to use metaphors based on how it ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Mafia name usage in writing

Is it safe to include names of mafia organizations in your fiction or will they read your work and come after you?
0
votes
1answer
96 views

Latin names of European places

The novel I am writing is set in Europe. For the setting, I'd need to find the Latin names of places, e.g. villages and geographical features, in the regions corresponding to modern-day England and ...
3
votes
2answers
68 views

Can I reference something used in another medium, like names, play titles, or song titles?

I'm having a hard time finding information on this so let me explain the idea: I'm writing a story that takes place in a small town high school in 1986. And I want to give the characters all nicknames ...
0
votes
1answer
110 views

How is a semordnilap typically used?

I am asking whether I should use it as a hint to make it clear that my story is about the story of Adam and Eve. In my short story, there's a place called "Nede", with two characters called "Mada" ...
2
votes
4answers
190 views

Is using an online name generator a good idea?

When I'm stumped for a planet name or an organization name or something, I usually search on Google for a free name generator. But are the names in random generators copyrighted? If I used a ...
2
votes
4answers
354 views

Any tip on naming a star, planet, geographical features and other non-living things? [closed]

I was wondering if "Spear" or "The Spear" could be the name of a planet. But I can't find a single reason to name a planet that way, and even if there were it just sounds horribly stupid. What are the ...
39
votes
14answers
11k views

Do hard to pronounce names break immersion?

I have a character in my book named Jiolluav (with the correct accent, Zholl-you-of or /ʒōl-'yoo-äv/), and I've written my entire "novel" (it's a work in progress) using this name. When I asked a ...
30
votes
5answers
3k views

Avoiding repetition when there are two unidentified individuals

The tall figure was overwhelmingly tall. It stood in the corner of the room. The skinny figure right beside him sat on a chair. It wasn't moving at all. The tall figure moved to the opposite side ...
0
votes
7answers
209 views

Naming my characters

I'm writing a fantasy novel. The story takes place in England (1900's) No matter how much I research I'm unable to move forward in naming my characters. For example, When we look at all the characters ...
13
votes
8answers
3k views

What to call a main character who changes names?

I'd like to write a story, in the third-person perspective, centering on a character who changes her name several times in the course of the story. She uses her birth name for the first couple of ...
0
votes
5answers
498 views

How do i properly name a fictional species and describe it?

I'm currently developing a fictional species set in a fantasy world, and I want to name it, but I don't want it to sound too... scientific? For example, our scientific name is Homo sapiens, but we don'...
2
votes
2answers
124 views

Creating fictional names - bands, hotels and companies

There are a nice plethora of "how do I create a name for my fictional country/area/character" but I can't see anything for band names or companies or hotels. Is there a good system to use to avoid ...
2
votes
3answers
242 views

Is this easter egg too obvious?

In my book series (more on that here), I am planning on including a bunch of Easter eggs and subtle references to things as an added treat for the reader. However, I just came up with one that I think ...
3
votes
2answers
230 views

How to refer to a group having 3 men and 1 woman [closed]

I am rewriting a story that once had a group of 4 men. Throughout the story they were often referred to as the 4 men. Now the story is being updated to replace one of the male characters with a female....
6
votes
6answers
260 views

Where can I find resources to look up Native American names?

I am currently working on writing a fantasy novel centered around pre-Columbian America, but I am at the moment unsure as to where in America to focus my story. I am considering either the Lakotans or ...
6
votes
3answers
175 views

Names already used

I have named my fish and dolphin characters in my short story. It transpires that these names are already in use in other stories, for example 'Cornelius Cod'. Would I have to change my characters ...
18
votes
7answers
4k views

How to address family members solely by relationship in dialogue?

Most English speakers probably just care about You, Mom, Dad, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents and Ancestors, Children, Grandchildren, etc. That's great... as long as you are ...
16
votes
10answers
5k views

Are connotations with certain names inevitable?

In my book (fantasy novel), there's a character named Brad. Unfortunately, Brad has become synonymous with "douchebag". Now, when I first introduced him I just came up with a name. It needed to be on ...
4
votes
1answer
198 views

Technique for naming a device used to transform objects [closed]

There's this device that I'm writing about which can be used to transform objects. It can transform anything into anything. This is in the fictional future where people learned to modify our reality....
5
votes
2answers
253 views

Can I use the name of an already-existent band for my fictional one?

I made up a fictional band for a story and called it Enceladus, only to discover that there is already a real band with the same name (not a very well-known band). Could I still use the name without ...
36
votes
13answers
9k views

What are the Pros and Cons of long names?

Background: I'm developing names for places/characters/races/etc. in my world. One example are a particular political sect. The sect are a group within a different species that are named (the species ...
18
votes
7answers
5k views

Would it confuse my readers to give two siblings nicknames that can be abbreviations of the same name?

In my book, there's two brothers, who are named Nick and Cole. Now, I've always thought that Nick and Cole are cool names, so therefore I named the two brothers "Nick and Cole". But then I found out ...
5
votes
3answers
252 views

Are readers tolerant of unique and bizarre character Names? [closed]

I'm trying to refine a name for my main character and characters in general but I will be focusing on my MC for the example of this question. My question is: What criteria would make a name hard for ...
3
votes
2answers
91 views

How are suspected persons referred to in news articles?

In the Netherlands, convicts and persons of interest in relations to a crime have their last names truncated in published news articles – for example "John D." – but I know that this is not the case ...
2
votes
4answers
86 views

Should I defer introducing the name of the eponymous character/object?

In my short-story/novella, the title was "Hypnos Wakes" where "Hypnos" is the name of an alien/monster thing that possesses the protagonist. The possession, as well as the protagonist's reference to ...
2
votes
1answer
134 views

How do I come up with a powerful Name? [closed]

DISCLAIMER: This probably not the ideal StackExchange site for this question, but it was the closest one I found I have been using this name, "MikePendragonXD" online for a few years now. It ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

Would there be any legal repercussions for naming a protagonist after a celebrity? [duplicate]

The comparison to the celebrity ends with the name. For example, there is a story about Jack and his dog. Jack decides to name his dog Elvis because he's an Elvis fan and is listening to Jail House ...
2
votes
3answers
216 views

Dialog problems with a character with only one name?

I have a character who starts as a low servant caste and rises up through society. While plotting, I never bothered to give her more than one name, I guess I was thinking her island/village is small ...