Writing

Naming Conventions


One of the main things that bothers me when writing is the naming of my characters. Especially when trying to write in the two genres I read the most, fantasy and science fiction. I think it may be because I am monolingual, and not a natural linguist. I rarely like the names I come up with for characters or lands. They always seem to me to be names from a bad pulp fantasy (not that there is anything really wrong with that) or a bad role-playing session. Actually I always had difficulty naming characters for RPG’s. They were always too derivative, or clumsy, or ugly.

At the moment all the stories I have started feature a character called Elanore. Elanore is private investigator/detective in a fantasy setting, o and she is also a troll. The first name was easy, as I wanted a normal feminine name, but the surname is causing me a lot of angst… I want a hard, trollish name, but I just can’t settle on anything…

So if any of my writing contacts out there stumble down this rabbit hole, a question for you… How do you name your characters? What naming conventions do you find effective?

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4 thoughts on “Naming Conventions

  1. I’ve always had problems with naming – kids, pets, Sims 2 characters. Sometimes the name just came to me and other times I’ve scoured through books of all sorts for some inspiration. Perhaps if you go for a wander through your beautiful property you might find something that reminds you of your Elanore – something troll-like?

    1. There is a bridge nearby where a Troll might lurk… 🙂

      But afraid the inspiration there is a bit too prosaic for a troll.. 🙂

      We have a willows marching along the riverbank, with hidden glades, and wood caves.. One of which is the dinosaur tree (the kids love playing there) 🙂

      So old man willow and his neighbors the poplars bring to mind that old European landscape, and lazy summer days by river banks.. So more Hobbit like 🙂

      We will be looking to “retire” a lot of the bank in natives, but that will be a long, long term project 🙂

  2. Naming is one of my favorite parts of writing. I finally have a use for those name your kid books and I also go online to baby name sites. Sometimes I like to see what the name means.

    1. It’s good to to know what a name means… Maybe I need to invent the languages, to give the name meaning, but even that seems forced 🙂

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