Questions about creating and using names.

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43
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20answers
5k views

How to name the characters of your story?

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 ...
18
votes
9answers
4k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
328 views

How to deal with common Earth references in a non-Earth setting?

Until now, I have mostly written in settings similar enough to Earth, mostly with human beings. For the first time, I am writing a short story set on a different planet, where the protagonists are not ...
10
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
9
votes
9answers
3k 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. ...
9
votes
9answers
1k views

Tools for generating characters' names

I found this name generator: http://www.fakenamegenerator.com And I'm wondering if maybe there are others? Has anybody found this kind of tool useful? What about tools for fantasy names? Should I ...
8
votes
7answers
464 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" and provides a ...
7
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
3k 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, ...
7
votes
5answers
242 views

About using authentic historical name for teenager material

I am writing a (short) story set in Ancient Egypt, and the intended audience are junior high-senior high school students in the US. I am trying to use authentic Ancient Egyptian names for the ...
7
votes
3answers
188 views

Is it legal to name a character in a story after a disguised trademark?

I'm writing a sci-fi book series. As a true nerd, I want to use some characters to "do homage" to famous scientists, acronyms for experimental methods, and (here's the question) trademarked ...
6
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
306 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
494 views

Should I translate foreign names of companies, organisations, political parties etc?

Is it okay to keep foreign names of companies, organisations, etc even if they have official English translations? Example 1: A now defunct limited company in Sweden "Norrbottens Järnverk AB" has ...
5
votes
2answers
331 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
322 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
684 views

Does it confuse readers if a character name is similar to the name of an object?

It has been said that you should avoid similar sounding character names. One recommendation is to let character names begin with different letters of the alphabet, and not having them rhyme or ...
4
votes
3answers
379 views

Good way to create character names?

I find that a problem that I run into quite often is the fact that I can't create names that sound real, but also have a nice ring so that they fit the character. Does anyone have any suggestions on ...
4
votes
2answers
175 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

Referring to people in a book

I'm writing a book (travelogue) about Japan, comparing it to Sweden, where I'm from. During my travels I communicated mostly in Japanese but occasionally in English and Swedish. The book is in English ...
3
votes
6answers
148 views

How many meaningful names can I put in my story?

I'm naming characters for my fantasy story, and so far many of them have nmes that mean something. Characters from different regions have names from different cultures, several names represent their ...
3
votes
2answers
61 views

Should the word “The” be included in a label when labelling a character?

If I reference a character, whom, for the current context is given a label, such as "The Skull", should I include the word "The"? The following snippet should clarify my question: Our mission is to ...
3
votes
5answers
102 views

Is it fine to write something that has no relation to my local life or language or culture?

I am writing a novel (well, I have started to), with a fantasy middle ages and magic sort of background and English, Greek and meaningless names. I am from India, but my story feels 'European'. Should ...
3
votes
6answers
205 views

How to name characters of unspecific nationality and race?

I am writing a generic story. I have a setting that is not tied to a specific region on earth, though the story certainly does occur on earth, and there are numerous references in the setting that ...
3
votes
4answers
206 views

Not knowing a character's name. Would this be frustrating for the reader?

I have a project I have been working on for many years. It is quite personal and is intended for a small audience. In the story, the protagonist is trying to find/help another character, who for ...
2
votes
5answers
112 views

Does the protagonist need a name?

Does the main character in a short story need a name? My story gives lots of other details about the character.
2
votes
4answers
110 views

Character name and its capitalisation

Nobody in my story knows the actual name of one of the characters. She calls herself 'tina. She always writes it 'tina and gets irritated if people write it Tina - it's short for something, but nobody ...
2
votes
2answers
68 views

Can I use names of characters and groups that other authors/creators have used already?

After I began writing my series, I decided to type some of the names into Google. I found that the name of one my characters (Trent Steele) was used in an episode of The Simpsons. I also found that a ...
2
votes
4answers
416 views

Writing a character that has many names

So one of my main characters uses three different names throughout the story. There's his nickname Warlock, his name Andreas, and his shorthand name Dre. Warlock is probably used the most, enemies ...
2
votes
1answer
182 views

What is the correct casing for a character's title?

I'm currently writing some fiction about a lord and I'm struggling with when I should capitalise his title. There are a number of circumstances. When someone is referring to him or about him using ...
2
votes
2answers
104 views

I want to name a character something but j feel like people would say I'm copying Veronica Roth, my favorite author. What should I do?

I have a problem. I want to name a character (the main character's romantic interest) Tobias, but I feel like people would associate him with Tobias Eaton from Divergent, knowing how much I love that ...
2
votes
3answers
248 views

Name and Nickname

Is it acceptable to use both name and nickname when referring to my character? Example: Vindici waited for Eustachio to make his way up the hill towards him. "What news?" Vindici asked. "Well," ...
2
votes
1answer
124 views

How do you mention the same character with two very different descriptions?

In a screenplay, if you have a single character whose appearance and significance changes at some point - how do you note/explain that it's the same character? For example, I might have a MASKED ...
1
vote
1answer
153 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
528 views

Creating species/race names for supernatural/fantasy fiction

In urban fantasy style fiction with multiple supernatural characters, is it understandable to the reader if race names of each group are a combination of stereotypical species names (such as 'vampire' ...
1
vote
6answers
275 views

Referring to characters that are too familiar for a name

This question is very similar to this one. However, I felt it was different enough, and I also did not find an answer. In the tale I am currently writing, a girl, whose parents have both been long ...
1
vote
5answers
103 views

Is there any limit on how long a story can progress without the reader knowing the name of the character introduced so far?

So far, I've written about 10,000 words or so and have yet to name the character. I've talked about the character a lot. But no name yet. He's the ONLY character so far. I'm pretty sure that I don't ...
1
vote
2answers
523 views

Chapter names: The various ways of implementing them and why should I care

I see many times, that authors use various name formats for chapters: "***" "Twenty Four" "Chapter 5" "XIX" "Last Resort" "Ad notam" (or something Latin or any foreign, (!not author!) language) ...
1
vote
3answers
51 views

Tips for Coming Up with a Good Portmanteau (Name Smush)

In advance of the recent blizzard which struck the East Coast of the U.S., many media outlets were trying to coin a catchy name to describe the event (mainly to hashtag it on social media, let’s be ...
1
vote
3answers
198 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
130 views

Legal issue of naming a character after a song character

Legally can you name characters after songs (poems, etc.) so long as those characters don't purport to affiliated w/ the song or the song writer/author? A similar question here asks the opposite ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Refer to character by title instead of name?

Many of the minor characters in my story have official titles. CEO, Sergeant, Lt. Colonel, Ambassador, President, Prime Minister, Chief of Staff, Director, etc... If the character is minor, should I ...
1
vote
2answers
43 views

Referring to nameless protagonists in essays

My research paper focuses on a novel with a nameless protagonist, so I'll be referring to him a lot. Is there some convention for referring to such characters in academic papers? For context, the ...
1
vote
2answers
205 views

What connotations do these character names confer?

I'm currently brooding over good character names for a novel I want to write. I was looking at some of the books I read recently, trying to understand why the authors picked the names they gave their ...
1
vote
3answers
77 views

Using the name of fictional characters/series in a different context

I was wondering about if I could use the name of the fictional character Magneto in the scifi book I'm writing. There is no direct connection between the Marvel/DC universe and my book. Instead, I ...
1
vote
0answers
110 views

The president, the nickel and the dime [closed]

Not sure if this is on topic here: I remember back when I was a kid, I read a story about a US president. When he was a kid, he was stupid and fooled by people. They often gave him a choice of a ...
0
votes
3answers
57 views

Naming fictional races with original names vs with words from other languages

My novels contain several fictional races, but I have been trying to decide how to name them. Therefore, I must ask: is it more common for science fiction/fantasy writers to completely make up the ...
0
votes
3answers
436 views

Screenplay format: Can character names be shortened after the first mention?

For example: TED DIBAR, (40s) swings his cape to the side, as he approaches Felix. Do I need to continue to use the character's full name, or can I shorten it in subsequent mentions?
0
votes
3answers
54 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 ...