Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 9 years ago

Books and Authors: How do you develop good fantasy character names?

I'm talking more about names that you can use for characters that aren't human, live in a different world, are very supernatural-- or just aren't normal.

I know names are not the most important ingredient when creating a story-- and agree completely, but I do have an issue with this naming thing.

I want to name a creature that is not human in any relative way. I know for a fact that I cannot just pick a simple name like, " Hailee" and move away. Because Hailee is a popular name that is used by people. Not Selkies, demons, or fairies.

I guess in some cases when you're writing stories where ethnicity is heavy, culture/environment is mentioned a lot and the setting is in another world-- then doesn't it matter?

Anyways, sorry for getting off topic. I'm trying to name an underwater non-human creature. I want to know how to come up with names that are unique-- but don't look stupid like I mashed a bunch of unpronounceable letters together.

Would it be incredibly cliche to just use a name that means, "water" in another language?

^ stupid question, but to me, since the character's name will show up in the story, estimated every one or two pages-- then to me choosing a good one is important. I'm procrastinating right now, sorry.

6 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer

    I don't mash letters together. I mash syllables together, usually by putting a few together in my head and figuring out what they sound like or adding/removing/changing syllables from already-existing names and words. Sometimes I change the letters if it doesn't make it too strange [switching soft c's and s's around, for example]. You could always take a word that relates to water, either in English or another language, and just play with syllables. Like "Eaura"! ["Eau" [water in French] + "ra". Not the best example, but... hopefully you get the idea. X3]

  • 9 years ago

    Here are my methods:

    1.) Visit a baby names site.

    Good example:

    2.) Combine one name to another.

    Example: Jaxter + Dexter = Daxter (how I came up with that one)

    3.) Stealing celebrity names/surnames or foreign names

    4.) Using common words as names.

    Example: Mink, Mint, Lucky and Clover are all adorable names, in my opinion.

    5.) Use words from different languages, like you said.

    No, I don't think it is too incredibly cliché to use a name that means something in another language, but it depends on the language. Let's say you got your book published in Spanish and the word for water you used was in Spanish. The name of the ccreatures would literally be "water". I suggest Latin for this, since barely anyone knows it anymore.

    If you'd like, you can have this name for your character. I made it up, but I probably won't ever use it:

    Oceané (o-SEE-uh-knee)

    I think it sounds elegant, has the word "ocean" in it, but isn't pronounced as "ocean-E". The only difficult part to this is that you may have to copy and paste the "é" a bunch of times.

  • 9 years ago

    No, I totally understand!! I agonize way too much over names. When I'm making them up, I usually do a bunch of different things. For my new book I'm working on, I mixed the Spanish words for "heart" and "light" to make the kingdom of Coraluz. Looking up words in other languages is fantastic, especially words in more obscure languages like Sanskrit or Albanian or something like that.

    You could also name them after other things -- for example, with my first book, they meet some mer-people very briefly, named Adria, Tyrrhen, and Ross. I named each of them after seas in the world (at least modified versions of the names).

    So basically, there are a ton of ways to make up names. Just have fun and use your imagination!


  • Joanne
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    Hmm... well I had an idea for a two-faced person, with a multiple personality disorder kind of thing, so I went on to search up a two-faced god or name or something. It came up with Janus, which isn't my cup of tea, so I went on horoscopes and found Geminus and just switched the letter 'G' to 'J'. I use a lot of older, lesser-known names and replace letters with other letters.

    Or what I sometimes do is type random letters on the keyboard and try to create some sort of sound out of them. Or I close my eyes, type one letter, and then add them slowly to create a name. =P Somewhat helpful I hope?

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I'm writing a book on vampires atm. The main character was said to be prophesised eons ago by a great king. Said to have the name of night. Eventide Wiffman was the name of the prophesy, i researched old english translations for evening woman. This is what it came up as. i thought it sounded quite poetic.

    i did alot of research on names that had the meaning of either; dark, night or black.

    Originally i had her name as Ebony Silvarni (ebony meaning black), but it was just a too common name for someone who was of prophesy. so i did some hard core research, and changed her name to Darrah Zenith. Darrah is of Irish or gaelic origin meaning Dark Oak. But going with the dark theme, it fit adn suited my character.

    Her surname Zenith means: the point of culmination; the greatest height; the height of success or prosperity.

    So i thought these two fit nicely.

    So thats how Darrah Zenith was created.

  • 9 years ago

    I usually use foreign words for names [i.e. fire, water, beauty etc. in Latin, Greek, Japanese etc.] to make my names. I try to use ancient languages for names or at least uncommon names if its from a common name. I usually get my names from, but usually I just make up words and put the pronunciation at the back of the book. I also use a lot of Japanese names just because they sound so exotic and foreign.

    Source(s): I is good at makin words
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