Naming in Stories

One thing I don’t understand is why some people think that a good fantasy name has to look like you smashed your drunken face into the keyboard. A name shouldn’t need a mouth like Dr. Zoidberg to pronounce it clearly.
It really takes away from the story methinks.  Why risk doing anything of the sort.  I understand trying to make separate races/people/species seem different, but maybe do that in their actions moreso than their names.  Names can still be exotic even if they aren’t all consonants and 1 vowel.  If there is a certain culture you are thinking of while making your new culture, then maybe make some of the names resemble that.  I dunno, maybe I’m just not cool enough or established enough of a writer but I have read a lot.  I know that if I crack open a book and all I see are names like that I gloss over them anytime they appear.  If glossing over their name everytime, then I don’t feel as close to that character.  Simple as that. 
Well that is really all the time I’m going to devote to that.  Although one other thought that is done for some things anyway(like star trek and klingons) make a book with their language and the aspects of it.  That way you get your creative boner and those language freaks that love that get theirs as well.
Off to dinner and then to try and get my creative boner on.

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  1. My favorite is when the two characters come from the same area, almost the same city or village, and one has a name like Steve and the other is Glarfghiolopos. I understand that even a few miles away there will be some cultural drift, but seriously???
    I HATE long and complicated names for the sake of being long and complicated.

  2. I like using babynames.com when I name a character. I write Science Fiction, and I agree that names don’t have to be strange and unpronounceable to be exotic. All aliens do not have apostrophes in their names!

    The website even has a specific page just for writers like me who are using the site to name fictional characters: http://www.babynames.com/character-names.php

    I recently had a character with the very English name of “Amie” (because I was listening to a song by that name, which I love, because it’s my name…) but since she ended up being from Hong Kong, I decided she should have a traditional Chinese name. So I used the site to find Chinese girls’ names, and picked “Ai” meaning “love” and “Mei” meaning plum blossom. Fortunately, I have a friend who speaks Mandarin, and she reassured me that combining the two syllables did not make some strange word with an undesirable meaning!

    Another great way to name a fantasy character is simply to peruse names from other cultures on Earth. Swedish, Hindi, Swahili all make great exotic sounding names for characters and places as well.

    • Yeah. I love looking through some of the older names that aren’t really used much anymore. Some of them are great, kind of partial to old Irish names, maybe since mine is one. Apparently I’m a noble ruler. Seems completely fitting aha. Another great naming thing that I heard from Patrick Rothfuss at his signing was that he takes familiar words and will drop or add a couple letter to them to make new names. Like he took William and made it Willem, or Simon into Simmon. He does also do the old name process as well, but is far better at it than I. If you haven’t read The Name of the Wind, I strongly suggest it, it’s not Sci-Fi, but it is fantastic. A Sci-Fi that I just read at the insistence of a great friend is Old Man’s War by John Scalzi.. That is a superb book as well, it is kind of Starship Troopers mixed with Avatar. Cool aliens, consciousness transferring, love, expletives, sex, and some good humor even. What more could you ask for?

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