Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [naming]

Questions about creating and using names.

16
votes
12answers
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
190 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
1k 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
136 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
817 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
344 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
403 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 ...
21
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
63 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
63 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
94 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
60 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
101 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
180 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
339 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
194 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 ...
12
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
337 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
121 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
240 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
224 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
241 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
168 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
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
196 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
195 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
247 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
88 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
84 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
133 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
97 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
209 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
8k views

Can I use the name Valerian in my sci-fi novel?

I have an Ancient Roman theme with the names of my characters, however someone pointed out to me Valerian is already a scifi character's name. Are the french comics (which spell it with an accent over ...
4
votes
2answers
191 views

What character names can I use for new heroes that are not copyrighted?

I need to know if I can only use names that are not taken at all (very frustrating), or if there is a way to use names I really want to use and it be okay.
5
votes
1answer
239 views

Accidentally named fictional characters after a famous person

I have been working on a project for about two years now. I've only just realized characters I created somewhat share a name with a public figure. The only difference being the names is that the ...
9
votes
3answers
339 views

Is it better to avoid names with a difficult pronunciation in Middle Grade fiction?

Many languages are written using Latin letters, but often these seemingly familiar letters aren't pronounced in the way that we are used to. For example, an English speaker might read the name ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Do former names of companies go in quotation marks or in italics?

I understand that current companies, like Google, do not go in italics or quotes. However, I am editing an article with a sentence that says, "Founded in 1880 as 'The Bucyrus Foundry and ...
3
votes
2answers
224 views

Giving a character a name that is based on his storyline [closed]

I'm trying to find an appropriate name for my main character. I want his name to reflect his personality and symbolize certain aspects of his past. For example, for a character who has supernatural ...
4
votes
5answers
261 views

When naming a character, is thematic naming or realistic naming more important?

Or is there a way to strike a balance between thematic naming and realistic naming? Thematic: When the name relates to the character directly. Example: someone who only wears black clothes has the ...
24
votes
18answers
5k views

What should I do when I am stuck on names during freewriting?

If I get hung up choosing a name for a character, should I come back to it later? Or should I try to figure one out? I feel like sometimes I have some momentum going forward and taking too much time ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

How do I label a graphic novel series?

Similar to the issues brought up in Structuring a novel like a television or graphic novel series, I'm adjusting a saga I'd conceived as an animated TV series of ~42min episodes, 13 episodes per ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

Can I use my legal name as the protagonist if I'm pitching my book to traditional publishers under a pen name?

Can I use my legal name as the protagonist if I'm pitching my book to traditional publishers under a pen name? Would I be rejected for doing this?