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I've already got a good story, characters, and almost everything else in my story made up but I'm stumped in naming it. I ABSOLUTELY don't want it to be named in Japanese and it should have something to do with the story's themes.

I'm not asking for suggestions about a name, but suggestion about how to come up with a name.

(BTW, if you were wondering, the story I'm trying to name is the same one in my other thread)
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[COLOR=DarkSlateGray][SIZE=1][FONT=Comic Sans MS]You know to tell you the truth with names what I actually do is type down random letters till they make something that I actually like, I mean its one odd method of doing things but it really works for me like


If I don't like a letter then yeah I just delete it and start over a new but besides that yeah, there goes my secred method.[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR]
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I probably have links to websites for everything XD

For finding names there are two websites that I always go to.

This site is for pet name, but it has an incredible variety of names separated into countless different categories. You can choose your names from anything from "Names of Famous Mexicans" to my personal favorite "Mafia & Gangsters."

Behind the Name is great for when you want to find a unique name from of a specific nationality and you want to know the meaning as well. It has both a [URL=http://surnames.behindthename.com/]separate site for surnames[/URL] and [URL=http://www.behindthename.com/random/]even a random name generator[/URL]
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I actually tend to do it the same way as Ikillion. :D I usually just take the general theme of the story I'm working on and randomly jot down phrases. Sometimes I even flip through the story and randomly steal descriptive phrases until something clicks in my head.
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[FONT=Trebuchet MS]When I'm writing novels or short fiction, most of the time I will literally use the first appropriately-gendered name that pops into my head. Or, occasionally, I'll be constructing a character in my head and feel like s/he really needs a 'fitting' name, in which case I walk around with said character in my head for a day or so, running through names mentally until s/he goes "that's me!". Sounds weird ... but [b]I'm[/b] weird.

[b]Sur[/b]names, now those are the real rotters. When it comes to last names, I always decide on the rhythm before the actual name: the pattern of stress-unstress I want it to have when added to the first name I've already thought of. Once you know the 'beat' the surname has to conform to, it narrows down your choices.

I haven't read your story idea, so just be aware these methods work best ... well, firstly, they work best for [b]me,[/b] and might not work for you at all. But also be aware I write in contemporary or near-future settings and use these methods to generate 'normal' names. If you're after something more fantastical listen to Ikillion, not me.

One thing I would absolutely advise you against is using an online name generator, no offence to Chi. I've done it before and the character somehow stops feeling like they're [b]yours,[/b] knowhadimean? Character names should come from the author, not from some hastily-thrown-together Javascript app.

Ikillion, if you got the name 'Asmodeus' from typing out random letters I'd get down to the nearest exorcist right away ... he's a [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asmodeus][u]genuine canon demon[/u][/url] ... wooOOOoo spooky![/FONT]
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[quote name='Raiyuu][FONT=Trebuchet MS]One thing I would absolutely advise you against is using an online name generator, no offence to Chi. I've done it before and the character somehow stops feeling like they're [b]yours,[/b'] knowhadimean? Character names should come from the author, not from some hastily-thrown-together Javascript app.[/FONT][/quote]

The random name generator doesn't just throw random syllables together; it chooses a name from Behind the Name?s database of names based on the languages that you select for it to look through. It tends to speed up the process of finding names quite nicely.

Perhaps my brain is inferior to those of others, but I personally cannot come up with original names off of the top of my head. I tend to think of a feeling or a theme that I think my character represents and look for whatever name I can find with that meaning.

In 8th grade I just stole whatever names I happened to be reading/learning about in my English and math classes and used them for my stories (I'm actually still using many of them for my current manga project; I've grown quite attached XD).

Finding names, for me, is mostly about the feelings your characters represent. I would suggest never choosing a name before you create a character because it can lead to very two-dimensional characters. And that makes for very frustrated readers (or at least a very frustrated me).
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[COLOR=DarkSlateGray][SIZE=1][FONT=Comic Sans MS][quote name='Raiyuu][FONT=Trebuchet MS] I'll be constructing a character in my head and feel like s/he really needs a 'fitting' name, in which case I walk around with said character in my head for a day or so, running through names mentally until s/he goes "that's me!". Sounds weird ... but [b]I'm[/b'] weird.[/font][/quote]

I don't care how wierd you are. I swear that has to be the coolest way that I have ever heard of creating a character. Yet now I am afraid of trying to do that in my mind, for the fact that if I try to give said character a name that s/he doesn't like. I fear the pain that would ensure in the coming moments. Yet, now I am tempted to try that way...and hopefully not get pain out of it.

However if you are going for Surnames, much like Raiyuu I really tend to like names that flow together, however when I say flow together, I don't mean they have to have the same number of syllables, same number of letters, same names. ex cetera ex cetera. The way I like to do it is same kind of word flow. For instance if I had one word that had a long i sound at the end of it. Most likely the next name wouldn't start with an X. However I do break my own rules a lot of time time when I am not feeling creative.

now as we come to the end..
[quote name='Raiyuu][FONT=Trebuchet MS]Ikillion, if you got the name 'Asmodeus' from typing out random letters I'd get down to the nearest exorcist right away ... he's a [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asmodeus][u]genuine canon demon[/u][/url'] ... wooOOOoo spooky![/FONT][/quote]

I find that odd though, since the name that I had used that character for was actually a time splitting mage. Its odd, I wonder if that could be a prenotation on the writing that I am yet to do on him. Now I am afraid... hopefully nothing else bad will happen, hopefully nothing else that can involve any more demonic influences ¬_¬;[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR]
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[SIZE=1]Asmodeus is also a demon-like character in Megatokyo, if you were wondering...

On to the topic! Name wise, I'm the sort of person who likes hunting down names in my free time,, so I have a whole archive of them in my head for future use. Most of the time I do what Raiyuu does and let them wander in my head until they find a name they like. If they can't find one, I go to one of the various baby name websites and start hunting for names there. Often the character finds a name they like there, and I don't need to go further.

Last names are always the tricky part, as all last names have some meaning or another. Since I'm not the sort of person who likes hunting through phonebooks for a last name, I also go hunting online for them too. The first name usually determines the rhythm of the surname, so I often go from there. For instance, a person with a name like Kazuki wouldn't necessarily have the surname El-Tall, and the like.

Though I have to get better with surnames because I always fall into a rut and often have characters that have the same surname even if they aren't related. The one syllable or three syllable surname pattern gets annoying after a while, so I have to break that habit. :animeswea [/SIZE]
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  • 2 weeks later...
[color=#b0000b][size=1]I thought this was going to be about names for titles, but as long as we're talking about characters... ;)

I am a fiend for names. Most of my characters' names are chosen specifically for their meanings, or possibly due to a famous (or not-so-famous) namesake. I have a couple baby name books at home, and I keep a mental tally of the names that I particularly like and want to use some time. (I also have a book called [i]Beyond Jennifer and Jason[/i], which breaks names up into categories like "wimpy names," "bully names," "grandmotherly names," "names you can give your child if you want people to be unsure of whether it is male or female" and "names that you should not give your child because they belong exclusively to a famous person, and your daughter Cher will hate you [i]forever[/i] if she has to spend the rest of her life saying 'Yes, as in [i]Sonny and--[/i]' " (It's a very fun book, even if those category names have been slightly paraphrased.)

Also, as a [i]very[/i] useful tool, [url=http://babynames.com]BabyNames.com[/url] has an option to search the database by your desired [i]meaning[/i]. (For example, type in "gift," change the drop-down menu to a meaning search, and it will give you all the names in the database that have the word "gift" in their meanings.

Anyway, examples of characters that I've named for specific reasons:

[url=http://fanart.theotaku.com/tags/yanamaria][b]Yanamaria[/b][/url], a character that started out as a broken porcelain doll. Her name means [i]bitter grace[/i], and I thought the juxtaposition of the two ideas was really intriguing, especially for her story. (Side note: I fabricated the name myself using terms I knew had to do with grace and bitterness, and ended up with this--sort of a backwards version of MaryAnne. It turns out that it was already enough of a name to be listed in at least a couple books and databases, which just goes to show that you're not always as original as you think you are.)

[b]Vespa Dolichovna[/b]. I don't have any uploaded images of this lady, but hopefully that will change soon. Vespa was born through an idea of an assassin using the callsign [i]Yellowjacket[/i], and (history aside), that's where her name came from as well. Yellowjackets fall under either the genus [i]Vespula[/i] or the genus [i]Dolichovespula[/i], so you can probably see where this is going. I liked [i]Dolichovespula[/i] because I immediately thought that [i]Dolochov[/i] would work as a Russian last name. "Vespa" became her first name, and after some research on how gender works in Russian surnames, her name settled as "Vespa Dolichovna."

[url=http://www.otakuboards.com/showpost.php?p=623566&postcount=16][b]Charlotte Hassenpflug[/b][/url] was created for Shy's [i]Vignette[/i]. It was an RPG about stories, and since I was taking a German Folklore class at the time, I thought I would do something with Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm. In the end, though, that seemed too obvious, and I took a different route. I researched the Brothers, learning that they had a sister, Charlotte, who had married into the Hassenpflug family. So the name was that of a historical character (if a minor player in the scheme of history), and the character herself was an expansion of the name.

(Isn't this fun?)[/size][/color]
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It'd be pretty cool if you guys would stop talking about characters' names as the purpose of this thread is titles, not names....

My opinion: Naming it after a character equal a lame title. It feels rather unoriginal and lazy (I'm talking to you, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and Cardcaptor Sakura!). My favorite ways to think up a title are either to take a quote from the story, one that truly encompasses the theme of the story: case in point, Margaret Mitchell's [i]Gone with the Wind[/i] (first example I could come up with as I'm simultaneously typing this post and doing a report on the book, so sorry). Save the naming for last, flip through your work, and find a phrase that just screams out the theme to you.

Or you could give a silent prayer of thanks to our good friend Noah Webster and whip out your thesaurus and dictionary and go on- GOODY!- an etymology hunt. Just start jotting down words that appeal to you and that'll catch the reader's attention. For instance, if you're writing a story about werewolves, what's a sicker title than [i]Lycanthropy[/i]? What's also fun is making up your own words from Greek, Latin, and other language elements. Not only is it unique, but it also has something to do with your story, unlike if you just start scribbling down random letters.
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[COLOR=#656446]I say go semi-random. Pick a really obscure (but relevant) reference to the plot/main character and use that. [b]BLEACH[/b] did it, so did [b]Neon Genesis Evangelion[/b]. And need I mention [b]Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle[/b]?

Or maybe you could get away with a pun or a play on words, i.e. [b]Saiyuki[/b] and [b]Yakitate!! Japan[/b]. It's hard to forget good inside joke (and it makes you sound clever too!).[/COLOR]
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Just a note [B]Delta[/B], Neon Genesis Evangelion has alot of meaning in it's name. Ya just gotta know what it is. :animesmil Too complex to be as-splained here.

My suggestion. Well, first, it'd be a good idea to provide just what the story is about. And if you don't want to reveal that, then just go for something that sounds cool to you, then test it on other people and see if they find it interesting. As much as one shouldn't, they do judge a book by it's cover, and the title is on the cover.

[b]Jack's Totally Rad Adventure[/b] would definetly grab my attention before [b]Technical Manual[/b].[/color][/size]
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  • 3 years later...
  • 2 weeks later...
lol nice to see Sara still has her love of names :)
I remember the name Yanamaria (and some of the pics in the link) but I just assumed it was a real name. It has an un-artificial ring to it, if that makes sense.

On the tangent of character names, I love coming up with names for characters for things. It's usually hard at first to come up with the first few, but then you sorta cant stop when you get in the zone. Sometimes I'll start off with a theme, sometimes with certain sounds, and sometimes I'll just go on a wikipedia frenzy til a word jumps out at me. One name I like to re-use in things is [i]Boy[/i] lol. It's so childish and for me, it just slots into everything :rolleyes:

The names that stick usually fit specifically to that character, or with a set of similar characters, either in meaning or origin or theme. I'm slowly coming up with a story atm with a huge character list and I really like how the names fit in to their motives/nature/groups/blahblah. The story's tentatively called [i]Waha[/i], after the main character. It translates to 'oasis' in arabic, and a lot of the other characters have names that are similarly of middle eastern origin, or which tie in with the desert sort of name-theme (the story is nothing to do with the Middle East lol). The antagonist's name is a distortion of a word that means 'mirage' (hah) but there were a few other reasons why I chose that name.

The names that dont fit into any current story ideas kinda get stockpiled in case I might wanna use them for other things. Random examples are: [i]kina, korina, kimi, jebin, lamia, lorna[/i] etc. These names are usually just as exotic in origin, but they're less local to any certain place. They sorta give me a fantasy vibe too, so they're kinda being saved for a fitting project.

Going back to title though.. I usually think through a bunch of important things in the story. Key chapter names, key locations or items, important characters or moments in the story.. anything that sticks out really. I usually like things that might have a double meaning/deeper meaning to the story. The [i]Waha[/i] story is sort of all about whether or not things are real and the search for something real, that's why I like the oasis/mirage thing. I got another story I'm planning out which I've titled [i]Crossroad[/i]. The story starts off in the hometown of the main character, which is by a crossroad. But later on the main character ends up dying and 'restarting' at a certain point in his life (maybe more than once :P). So the title's really referring to the different choices he makes each time he restarts.

lol I hope the last paragraph helped. The rest was just sorta gratuitous babbling lol.[/size]
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