Saturday, January 1, 2011

Name that Character - or rather, your character

Natural Build

Hackwar Smof Swunnset

Darth Competent

Chuck Banger

Harry Potter

Rinkashime Chikukachiari


These are all my names.


At least thanks to the Internet and the magic of random (or semi-random) name generators. The above are my Jersey Shore, Fantasy, Sith, Porn Star, Harry Potter character (score!), ninja and fallen angel name(s) (Baraqijal is the angel who taught astrology).

Our friends at #Reverb10 asked the question, “If I could walk into a room of strangers and introduce myself for the first time with a fake name, what name would I choose?” Not really sure. I suppose Darth Competent would work. I’m guessing he is the scariest but most organized of the Sith. If I were still a single man, Chuck Banger would have a certain appeal to the ladies. Ladies? Where did they all go? Anyway….

So what about Character names? Does it matter what you name your characters? How should you go about naming your characters in your story?

Here is a pretty good link on the subject that is pretty comprehensive:

Here are some character names from my book BLACKHEART, and why I chose that name and/or what they mean.

Clayton Jaeger: My human main character. He’s a detective and he is also suffering from illness and the loss of his only daughter. In Chapter 1, the character he has come to arrest, Blackheart, comments on his name, “Take dust and water mix ‘em together you get Clay—the same mud God made man out of.” I consider Clay to be the common man, hopefully the most relatable character in my novel for most readers. Jaeger, his last name, means “huntsman”—which I think is appropriate for a detective.

Blackheart: AKA Carl Black, AKA Cyex, is the violent protagonist and antihero of my novel, titled for the same. Terribly scarred and at war with literal demons, Blackheart is like his name suggests dark—in many ways to his core. Discovering his true motives and nature (his heart) are one of the things that I hope will keep people reading.

Noel August: Is a psychic teenager who talks with angels. She spends a lot of time in the company of Blackheart and demons. I wanted a name that would stand for her purity and brightness. Noel is literally the masculine form of the word “Christmas” (French). In English speaking countries it is sometimes used as a female name. “August” is a reminder of summer (the book is set in a winter blizzard.)

Marauder: Nemesis of Blackheart. He’s been around for a long, long time. Marauder is the current name he goes by, but he’s also been known by Af, Pahadrone, Rabdos, Apep and many others (all references to other times, places and bad things he’s done). The name Marauder means “Plunderer” or “Attacker.”

A couple mentions for awesome character names from my fellow Scribblerati writers (and there may be more, these are ones I like that come to mind as I’m writing this): Claudia’s time travelling character Ursula Evermore; Lisa’s nature-steeped main character: Beryl Kodiak. Very fitting names. Read their books and find out!

So what are some sources for finding good character names?

A few I have used:

q Sit through credits at the end of any movie and jot down names. There are some awesome names out there in real life. Mix and match first and last names as needed.

q Books on Naming: I have 3 books on my writing desk that are full of names. The best is the “Writer’s Digest Character-Naming Sourcebook.” It lists thousands of names from many languages with definitions. I also have a baby naming book and a pet-naming book. All of these have come in handy when trying to name fictional characters.

q The Internet. Duh. J I’ve included some links (there are probably thousands of other related links) that will help you either find or generate names.

Random Name Generator from US Census

French Male Name Generator

Harry Potter Name

Angel/Demon Name generator:

A Plethora of Fantasy Names. Yeah. A plethora.

This post is dedicated to my friends with the best names ever: Syshwinsnyx Mollieux and Wyoho Cheelaburb. You know who you are.

Happy New Year!


Jon said...

My random name was: Hugh Zilnicki, obviously a lesser known member of the Sweathogs.

My Harry Potter name was just: Harry. Obviously the Harry Potter name generator is a lazy, apethetic fuck.

My Frnech name is: Joseph-Crispin Royer. I'm not sure why there is such a thing as a French name generator...

My Angel name: Madus. I like it, but I gonna spice it up a little. Although I'm not sure where to go with it.
On one side I have: Madus the Maddest
On the other: Madus the not unreasonable.

I love the name game. a couple of years ago, I put up a blog about the same thing talking about my other favorite way to find names, and that's through my access to lists of them at work.

You can read about it here:

Jon said...

Ok, sorry, here you go:

Mark Teats said...

Jon: Maybe there's a little bit of Harry Potter in all of us? No. I think you're right about the Potter name generator. Lazy, lazy.

I had forgotten about your post on names. Nice to have access to such a list.

Qlaudie said...

Darth Competent - the Adolf Eichmann of Sith Lords.