Just for Fun: What’s in a Name?

If you write stories, chances are you have to name things. Whether it’s a character, a town, a planet or some kind of invention, we need to be able to call it something. Let’s discuss the way you come up with names for your characters and places. Do the names need to be related to their function in the story? Are they random? Do you use variations of your spouse’s name or your kids’ names? What works or doesn’t work for you?


3 thoughts on “Just for Fun: What’s in a Name?

  1. I have often named characters based on my children’s names. “Olas” and “Asor” are characters in one of my novels… Olas is taken from my son’s name, Nicholas, and Asor is from my daughter’s preferred name of Rosa.

    For place names (planets, countries, towns, etc.), I’ll often just randomly open a dictionary, drop my finger or a pencil on a page and then take whatever word I’ve selected and turn it into a name. The word “idea” became the planet “Idaya” in one story; the word “mudsucker” became the country of “Madsker” in another.

    In many cases, the naming of things depends on the style of a story. If it’s a comedy, if someone invents a chair made of memory foam might be a “Lineament Procuring Seating Apparatus” while in something more serious it would just be a chair.

    And the reality is, sometimes the names of characters in stories are just the names of people I know… maybe the girl I had a crush on for years and years in high school. Maybe the coworker who threw me under the buss last week. Maybe the name of my favorite barrista at Starbucks.

  2. In my current WIP, the “bad” guys (quirky eccentrics) started a group called, “The Fellowship of Galactic Time Travellers.” That was too much of a mouthful for my MC’s twin brother, so he calls them The Galtimers. Very clever boy, I’m most grateful to him 😀

  3. when i name an mc, i feel like i’m naming a child. i never name characters after people i know in real life. my books are set in the present so i choose names that would be consistent to the times and their ethnic background.

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