Thursday, 12 January 2012

Naming Characters

Today's WriYe topic is 'How do you name your characters?'

I have two ways of naming characters. Sometimes I know what a character is going to act like and I choose a name that's appropriate for that characters, and other times I just pick a name I like and the character in part grows from that.

To give an example I'll go through my characters for Alive!

Keller Anis - Her first name just popped into my head when I was creating the character. It sounded strong but still female. I gave her a surname taken from the star anis plant, because the name was interesting and it seemed appropriate for someone who travels in space.

John Park
- John was a character before he had a name. I wanted a nice normal name to fit with his nice normal, laid back character, so settled on John. His name did influence his character a bit, because he wasn't Korean until I called him Park - which I then discovered is one of the most common Korean surnames.

Shanran Dak
- Confession time. Shanran was originally a character in a Star Trek fanfic set some time in the 26th century. He was Shanran Dax then, but obviously I couldn't keep the name Dax, so I altered it to Dak. Actually the character he became then deviated a lot from the original Dax character I'd written, so his name may have influenced the character a bit.

Dr Anna Smythe - Anna was always going to be a predictable, stable character, so I wanted a name that reflected that, but also hinted at her being a classy lady. Smythe is very similar to Smith, but sounded more upper class, so it fitted well with the idea I had of her character.

Dr Connor Rivers - I wanted a kindly name for the ship's doctor, something that sounded respectable, friendly and like someone you could trust.

Elliot Macintyre -The same with Elliott, I wanted something that sounded friendly, but that sounded a bit younger than Dr Rivers. I've never known an old Elliott, so that seemed to fit the bill nicely. Macintyre had a nice lively sound to it as well, also pointing to a younger man... or at least that's how my mind worked when I was choosing his name!

Jackson Brown - I really can't remember how I ended up naming Jackson. One thing I did try to do with the humans though was to keep their names all grounded and be quite normal. I hate sci-fi where all the humans have exotic names. Of course there would be some odd names - just like the Pixies, Summers, Lourdes' and Brooklyns we have now - but I always find it very difficult to keep track of or get involved with too many people with pretentious/made up/strange sounding names. I think I came up with Jackson's character before I named him, but I really can't remember. He actually started as a much more minor character than he ended up being.

Delta - The red-eyed cyborg saboteur needed a more interesting name. She's a bit of a mystery, so she didn't get a last name to add to that sense of her being someone we don't know much about. I liked the name Delta for her because it hinted at something robotic (ie. Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma...) and it could also be a girl's name (eg. Aussie singer Delta Goodrem).

1 comment:

  1. I also recycle old roleplaying/fanfic (though I haven't written that in a long time) names. Sometimes the character is too good to let go.

    You put a lot of thought into your names! I like how you base them on personality. Elliot is definitely a kind name to me as well.