Questions tagged [naming]

Questions about creating and using names.

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61 votes
23 answers
11k views

Choosing character names is a constant difficulty

I find it hard to name my characters. Every normal name sounds funny if applied to a product of my fantasy. If I take a common name, I may get the image of someone I know into my head. And that may ...
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21 votes
2 answers
21k views

Are Names of Characters Copyrighted by Authors?

Are names of characters copyrighted by authors? For example, the character "Eragon" from the Inheritance Cycle series, or a name that you've generated using an online name generator that you'd like to ...
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  • 3,355
10 votes
3 answers
3k views

How to have a character be nameless for the first few paragraphs of a book?

Let me first explain what is going in in the beginning of the story: My main character belongs to a tribal culture that requires their children pass a rite of passage to earn their name. So I'm kind ...
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18 votes
7 answers
29k views

Characters with no names

I've got a few short stories going, and I've foregone naming any of my characters. It started because I just didn't have any good names in my head and I was going to take care of it later, but now I'm ...
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  • 1,028
27 votes
10 answers
14k views

Any Technique to See if Your Idea is Original?

I usually get quite a lot of ideas for stories, but every time I want to develop them into a full fledged story, I get paranoid about how it might not be an original idea, and how it might be ...
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  • 3,355
6 votes
4 answers
13k views

Help! I accidentally gave my fictional character the same name as a fictional character on a TV show. Do I have to change it?

I've been writing a YA mystery book in which one of the three main characters is a detective—who now seems to share his name with another fictional character on TV. I was pretty young when I came up ...
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4 votes
5 answers
5k views

Can my character's name match someone in real life?

Is it legally OK that my character's name by coincidence matches someone's in real life, famous or not? (For example I am naming a character Aaron Hale.) The character's appearance and everything else ...
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11 votes
7 answers
29k views

Coming up with names for species in fiction?

When you are writing a story that is set in a fantasy world (maybe our world with just one made-up element, or a completely different world), what is a good way to come up with names for species that ...
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  • 3,744
6 votes
3 answers
416 views

How do I choose a name for my character?

I am looking for a name for my fictional, European, mysterious old man who lived roughly in the 1600's to 1800's. I want the name to have plenty of character to it, but easy to read. How should I go ...
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  • 163
2 votes
4 answers
515 views

Is thematic character naming off putting?

Is naming a character to go with a theme or setting of a novel off-putting for the reader? Does this pull them out of the story? For example: A character named digit in a cyberpunk future or one named ...
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14 votes
11 answers
14k views

Inventing names for Sci-Fi characters

How can I invent names for fictional characters in a future-setting Sci-Fi story so they won't be connected to any existing culture? I considered the following options: Invent some random names. ...
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  • 241
24 votes
18 answers
6k 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 ...
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11 votes
4 answers
6k views

On copyright laws and plots

I was pondering a lot on the issue with copyrights on plots. Is having an identical plot infringing someone else's copyrighted work? I am fully aware that the character names are copyrighted and ...
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  • 323
8 votes
6 answers
2k views

What are good resources to get fantasy names?

I have trouble coming up with fantasy names. I've used random name generators but they weren't very helpful. Is there a website that would have fantasy names or Norse, or Celtic names?
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9 votes
6 answers
1k views

How to handle a character when she is lying about her name

I am in the midst of writing my second NaNo novel, and I have encountered a problem I didn't anticipate. It is similar to this question, about changing a character's name in the middle of a story, but ...
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13 votes
3 answers
6k views

I gave my characters names that are exactly like another book. Is it a problem?

Ok, so, I am currently writing a book and 3 of my characters have the same name as in another novel. I didn't realize it until someone pointed it out to me. The names I picked are fairly common and ...
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  • 131
3 votes
5 answers
722 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.”...
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37 votes
13 answers
11k 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 ...
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12 votes
4 answers
3k 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 ...
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  • 4,068
41 votes
14 answers
12k 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 ...
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34 votes
10 answers
10k views

Would it be cheating to change the main character's "name" partway through the story?

I'm writing a story written in third-person limited, and the main character has no real name. They simply go by the nickname they're given by the people they hang around at the time, resulting in many ...
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  • 453
20 votes
5 answers
10k views

Current events may have ruined a name I was going to use

In the middle-grade series I'm working on, there are two organizations: one led by the antagonist, and one that opposes them, which the protagonists join. In the setting of the series, a very small ...
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5 votes
2 answers
612 views

How do you come up with a fictional character name in a historical era/region?

How do you research to find character names? Especially when it's long ago, not European, and the culture was totally different from what the region has now. For example, how would you generate names ...
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  • 233
23 votes
8 answers
3k views

Referring to different instances of the same character in time travel

I am writing a story that involves time travel, and I have a chapter where a character from the future interacts with his present-day self. This chapter is written from the present-day self's POV. ...
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21 votes
9 answers
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 ...
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10 votes
7 answers
14k views

Is it OK to refer to some characters by first name and to others by last name?

I'm writing the outline for my first novel, which has three main characters. I'm very happy with their names, however I recently noticed that I was naturally referring to the first two by first name, ...
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8 votes
5 answers
5k views

Is it okay to have a character that has the same first or last name as another famous character

But not like having the same full name but rather same last name like for example having a character named Kevin Snow which has the same last name as Game of Thrones character Jon Snow Other examples ...
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9 votes
7 answers
870 views

Potential confusion: referring to home planet as "Earth"

I'm writing a science fiction story and it's based in another galaxy, colonised by humans originally on a geographically equivalent "Earth". My current usage refers to it as "Earth"...
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  • 1,080
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

How does the narrator address a character who has changed her name, but only some people call her this new name?

I know this is similar to How to Handle a Character When She Is Lying About Her Name but the situation is slightly different in where my problem lies. I have a character who is introduced as Tabatha ...
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  • 195
3 votes
6 answers
38k views

How to create a good name for a fictional nation in my story?

I really have problems giving the military nation of my protagonist a unique, but also serious name that fits into the whole military nation thing. So here are my questions: What makes a name sound ...
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3 votes
2 answers
246 views

What would you call non human "people"?

I'm trying to have a dialogue where one character says something to the lines of "You're being really hard on yourself. You're only human." That line doesn't feel right when dealing with an ...
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  • 942
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

When Choosing Labels/titles for Characters instead of their names

This is probably a repeat of a previous question, but I have a slightly different problem when writing. I don't always want to refer to characters by their names (if I do, then I run into problems ...
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  • 942
2 votes
3 answers
546 views

Female Pet Names that a Londoner might use?

I was wondering about female pet names, like darling, sweetie, pet, babe, etc. One of my characters refers to his other half as "pet" but I've been told that this is common to the North East (UK). As ...
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  • 157
10 votes
10 answers
3k views

How to keep a main character nameless?

I'm currently writing a story about a girl who was found by a couple in a magical isolated town, where everyone is named by the leader. I want her to not have a name because of two reasons: She doesn'...
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  • 101
6 votes
4 answers
612 views

Using place names from other novels

There is a novel by a well-known author the title of which is a place name. The place is fictional and appears in the novel, although there are real places in the real world with the same name, but ...
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5 votes
5 answers
408 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 ...
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3 votes
3 answers
172 views

How do I write about a character with no name?

I'm writing a story where one of the characters is taken in by three other characters, but they don't know the first character's name. I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out how to write this scene, ...
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  • 31
1 vote
2 answers
256 views

Is it OK to rename characters?

One of my characters has two names, one she was given by her parents and is how the world/other characters know (of)her, another she likes and uses to "throw enemies off her scent" Is it OK to refer ...
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1 vote
1 answer
266 views

Do I correctly utilize my naming adjective concept in this book?

In my story THE GOSPEL OF THE RETURN OF A CHRIST THAT WANTS ANSWERS I wanted to evoke a sense of the middle ages in a modern book. So I utilized a technique where whenever I referred to a character, I ...
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  • 11
1 vote
3 answers
398 views

Is it okay to have a character who doesn't actually have a name?

The character in my book doesn't have a name. I mean, he probably does, but its not used by any other character in the book, including the character himself. He has a generic name, kind of like the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
118 views

Can one of my POV characters have the last name Thibodaux and get published?

I live in Louisiana, and names with french origins are very common here. So we all know how they're pronounced. I'm worried that a publisher will want me to change the name as it may not be so obvious ...
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0 votes
1 answer
132 views

Multiple personalities character's speach in text

I am writing about main character, which have multiple personalities. I know how i want to write them, but for reader it can be really disturbing and hard to for orientation. At the same time i will ...
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  • 563