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How do you decide on names for your characters?

Discussion in 'Creative Zone' started by Ridlins, May 5, 2018.

  1. Ridlins

    Ridlins Hiker
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    I find that coming up with a name is one of the hardest parts of creating a character. Usually I just end up finding a random generator online and using it until I find something I like. How does everyone else pick names?
     
  2. Wolf Expert

    Wolf Expert Master of Breaking Things
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    I also tend to use a name generator. Sometimes if there's a personality trait of the character I want to incorporate into a name, I'll just look for names with that trait in the meaning. It's a good idea to keep a list of names you like too, in case you end up making a character that fits one of them.
     
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  3. Shadria

    Shadria Impish Illusionary Kitsune
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    Same as Wolf! I usually have a character fully fleshed out (or at least their backstory and characteristics/personality set up) before looking at names. Or, if it's a game character (such as a Pokémon) that I don't have time to work that stuff out on (yes, I go as far as make up 'lore' or 'characterization' for my Pokémon in normal playthroughs), I look up words based upon them. Examples being a Victreebel I'm using in a game named Nepenthes (a breed of Pitcher Plant), and a Electrabuzz named Gamma (Gamma Rays).
    I use a couple of different Baby name websites for my more fleshed out characters (some of my characters have completely fictional names that I made up-such as Shadria, Deka, Cloe, Xavillion...) as well.
     
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  4. SnowboundBecca

    SnowboundBecca Scarf Enthusiast
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    I usually write down a character's background and culture first, and then check through a list of names from a similar culture. If I spot a name I like, I use that.

    Other times, most of the names I use are either inspired by real life (Penelope the Houndoom is heavily based off of my old dog, Penny) or from stories/games/movies I'm into (Silva, my dragon OC, was named after an NPC from Pokémon Coliseum).
     
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  5. Hraesvelgr

    Hraesvelgr Mod Snek
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    It varies greatly really but I don't use name generators, if I can't find a name for a character I've made they usually sit in the nameless pile till they get a name sine one I think fits them can suddenly come out of nowhere.
     
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  6. Squidy822

    Squidy822 Rival
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    Sometimes I use google translate. (See: Nero, which translates to "Black," as in black hole for the OC.)

    Sometimes I look up names and their meanings. (See: Ryuu, which I think translated to "Dragon Spirit")

    Sometimes I just use generic names that fit the character. (See: Violet, who just has purple hair and whatever.)

    Sometimes I might just get a little clever. (See: Titan, my OC who's a shipper. The name is both part of Titanic, a literal ship, and its also ironic since Titan isn't the tallest being in the world.)

    And sometimes I just get lazy and ask a friend for help. (See: Solala)
     
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  7. SyWry

    SyWry Psychic
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    I use a random word generator, but not an online version. I just sit down, pick a letter I like to start with, then write down any combination of letters I can think of. Often times, I just randomly type letters and come up with wacky names that work. Since I write them down, I can call up that sheet of wacky names any time I want so I wont have to go through the generator a second time unless I don't like the spread. It gave me a lot of crap but I found some gems like Tenow.

    Sometimes when I make characters, I might make their names related to some real world thing (ie. myths or languages or some name that already exists), however, I only do this when it make sense to do it. I really don't like having people named after things so I don't do this as much.
     
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  8. Gwoomy

    Gwoomy cute lil' pile of goo
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    I can try a chain of thoughts until I come across something nice. I also use Google Translate, taking a word somehow related to the character and translating it into random languages to find a name or name base.
     
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  9. manaphy2

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    I generally come up with the names on the fly, just as they make their appearance in the world of my head. Usually I just choose what I like and have only occasionally chosen a name related to a character trait of theirs. Often I'll choose a name, learn about its meaning, then allow the character's actions and decisions stem from the traits in the meaning.
     
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  10. GlaceonSilver

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    I tend to usually have a name in mind before I sit down to make a character. The name never comes without forethought though: I usually pick something that sounds right for the type of character I'm trying to create. This will often come from places like google translate or just my own thinking and experimenting. For me, it's always important to know at least a tiny bit about the character just from their name. As an example, I like to bring up two of my recurring D&D characters when talking about naming OCs. A name like "Belthrum Shattershield" has a very distinct flavor and already paints an image in your mind. To contrast, a name like "Cythriel Arlayana" paints a very different, yet still completely distinct picture.
     
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    #10 GlaceonSilver, May 6, 2018
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
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  11. Windstorm

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    I like to use name sites such like Behind the Name/Surname, 20000 Baby Names (?), Etc.
    I find name generators are a bit iffy to be honest, although I did have one on my phone that was quite decent. The only problem is that it didn't show the meanings behind the generated names (these were all real-world names, not fictional ones).
     
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    #11 Windstorm, May 6, 2018
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
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  12. Nova Ozuka

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    It kinda varies with me. I used to just brainstorm names and use whatever I came up with that sounded good. With Jack and Zero in Pokémon Resonance, I originally created them for RP purposes, but I reused them in that story. Atlas on the other hand was a bit different. He was originally Jack's AMian on Star Force RP, but instead I gave Jack a Pokémon that had a similar motif, a Shinx, and named him Atlas after the AMian I used on SFRP.

    I'm also planning to feature a character named Mugi in the story, who is named after my first bond unit in FE Fates. I also sometimes use Behind the Names theme list and random name generator. For example, I named Mugi's Squirtle Takumi, Taku meaning support and Mi meaning sea. When I just don't care and need a name for a character, then I use their generator
     
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  13. Talarc

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    I tend to only use a name generator for minor human characters. Important characters in the story get more attention and I'll sometimes make choices based on specific meanings. For pokémon, I usually have different nickname themes for each main character's teams which are loosely connected to each other - I particularly like jumbling up the species name and creating new names from the mess I get at the end.

    So, yeah, quite similar to everyone else in this thread! :P
     
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  14. Laserdragon14

    Laserdragon14 Meowing Mama Dragon
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    For my stories, I usually combine two words like Shadow and laser and come up with Shadowlaser. This system usually works but there are a couple of combinations that sound odd and just become placeholders until I find a more suitable name for them.
     
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  15. Negative Zero

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    Nobody mentioned my preferred method yet. I just keep an eye out for names that I like when I'm at school or work. I have to read/type about 100 people's names per day, and if there's a first or last name that I like, I make a note of that detail individually, never combining it with the same person's other half of their name. This has a bonus of making my names feel rather realistic because they are real people's names. So next time you're at work and see someone's name on a credit card, or are issued the email mailing list for your new class, or are looking at the credits of a TV show or movie; maybe keep an eye on the names. You might find something that just seems right.
     
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  16. Junkrat

    Junkrat Existential Anomaly
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    When I have a certain way I want my character to be, I just think of a name that fits them best. I really like names that have a certain meaning- so I typically try to make sure their name meaning relates to something about the character. For example, I have an OC that can control plants named Hana, which is Japanese for 'flower'.
     
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  17. SkittleBox

    SkittleBox Suffering MidoriP
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    I'll be the outlier here and say that name generators suck, end of story. Why? I think they're unverified and just smoosh letters together that vaguely look like names. It's even worse with non-English names.

    ...anyway. Since most my OCs have Japanese names (since they're Japanese), I end up either:

    1) Googling what I want their name to translate to and doing a ton of backwards searching to verify that the Japanese word I see is indeed what I want, or:

    2) Looking up kanji and using that, still backwards searching to make sure that the kanji is right.

    Of course, I then follow the first method with a kanji search since I really like having their names in kanji because it can reveal Deep Meaning [tm] and it also helps with learning the kanji a bit.

    For the few other OCs I have, I just look at the character and think of names that would fit the character since English is my native language and it doesn't take much effort to think of English names...
     
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  18. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Sun X Lillie Shipmaster
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    Largely depends on the character's significance. Obviously a brief appearance will have me doing less of an extensive research and that's where I'll use a generator. I want things to be significant for main and major cast, so that takes some time. Name generators are seldom used by me, unless it actually comes up with something that sticks.

    I often look up the meaning of their names, derive it from their personality. Sometimes it's a bit random.
     
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