Saturday, March 12, 2011

Names, Names, and More Names!

Anyone who has ever written a story, or a book can tell you that coming up with names can be a very lengthy process. You want to make sure that you get the names just right, and you don't want them to be very common names. The Adventures of John Smith is not nearly as exciting as The Adventures of Drake Daring. Names carry a lot of power. You want your reader to believe that the character's name reflects their personality and behavior.

Some stories are easier to tell than others. They might take place in one location with only a handful of characters. Some stories have tons of characters, and take place in a fully created world full of cities, lakes, and forests that each need their own unique, yet cool, names.

I spent a lot of time the other day coming up with names of locations that will be in my book. I came up with eleven names for various locales, and I have already named at least five characters with many more to go. I'm wondering how far I am going to get in telling my story before I stop and decide that it's time for book two to start.

It's an interesting experience creating a world from scratch. You don't want the names of the places to sound stupid, and since they're fictitious locations you need to describe them vividly to the reader. However, the payoff is that you get to create anything you want to. you have the freedom to create a floating city if you want to.

For my character names I randomly generate sets of obscure names, and I take a look at hundreds of names until I think I find a first and last name that I like. I don't like making up names like Tirion, I want them to sound real. For location names I have looked at names of places, and browsed random lists, and tried to pick and choose the best components, and reassemble them.

How do you come up with your names?

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