What’s in a Name?

As of right now, the heroine of the new novel is nameless. Right now, that’s fine, as I’m still crafting the prologue and she’s intentionally kept nameless. However, I’m eventually going to get to the meat of the story, and I’ll have to think up a name, and I’m faintly worried about finding something satisfactory. Naturally, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we come up with the names for our characters with this looming on the horizon.

I hope that, when I get to that bridge, I’ll be able to cross it, and the name would just come to me. That’s how the names for my Arynethian characters tend to come about; either the name just naturally fits into place, or the character is actually built up around the name itself. In my other fiction, I usually just pick something and it works, or it doesn’t and I try to pick something else. As much as I wanted it to work, I don’t think I was pleased with Ursula as the name for the main character in last month’s novel, so I feel that might have actually hindered my work on the book since I tried to stick with it.

I know I want something unique and original; I don’t want to recall up any particular other mythology, since I’m trying to set this novel in an entirely different world than what I’ve written before. I want it strong and graceful. As I wrote this, a name from a book I’m reading now, Morwenna, comes to mind, which is…a possibility I hadn’t thought about before. Something sort of Gaelic or Welsh would be in the right vein, I think.

Another Fandom!Secret comes to mind, one where someone mentioned building names out of captchas. If I don’t have an idea by the time I get to chapter one, I might just see how that works out for me.

Do you, dear readers, have any particular method to the madness of naming your characters? Do they mostly name themselves, or do you usually have a sort of system? Do you look for already existing meanings of names and pick ones to match, or do you work from some language techniques existent in the worlds you write in? Do you just pick at random, or try some other system? I find I tend to do a little bit of everything, depending on what it is I’m working on.

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4 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. How about the name Erin? If you look for meanings of the names, there’s a book about baby names where it elaborates what do they mean. I forgot the name of the book though.

    How many times did I type the word name? XD
    Good Luck Engler!

    1. There’s tons of baby name meaning books and sites, yeah. Let’s see. Erin.

      “Erin is taken from the Gaelic Eirinn, meaning “of Eire” – Eire being the Irish name for Ireland. Erin was used as a poetic name for Ireland for several centuries but it is not normally bestowed as a given name in that country.”

      This is the second time the name Erin has come up within the past few days, though, so maybe that’s a sign. I do like the Gaelic form of it, but there’s not enough Irish influence in the story, I think, to really warrant it in this one.

  2. My last novel was set in a world where there was such darkness that the characters all had their own light. Ileana was the strong female lead. I researched their names based on the various colours or light that dictated the character’s personality.

    My current novel is set in the modern day world and although it is a fantasy novel and the characters have special attributes or powers their parents didn’t know they would at the time of their birth so they have been given more traditional names. These names just came to me.

    Good luck! I am sure the name will come to you when it is supposed to.

    1. Ooooh, I love the concept of both novels, especially your reasoning on the more “traditional” names for the current one. I briefly toyed around with the idea of giving my heroine an utterly plain name like Jane, but decided that it just didn’t fit in with the more mythical world, as amusing as it would be.

      And thank you! I’m sure it will come to me, and if not, well, maybe having a Nameless Hero could turn out to be a pretty neat convention in the book…

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