Friday, October 21, 2011

Character Names...

And how the heck to come up with them!

Laura over at Writing Unleashed left a comment for me the other day. She wanted to know how I come up with fresh names in fantasy and story ideas.

Well. Let me tell you! ::Rubs her hands together gleefully::

I have a couple of name generators I go to. Seventh Sanctum, Rink Works, Serendipity, etc. They're all very good, but Seventh Sanctum is my fave by far. But half the time a name in their list sort of works for me. Others are perfect. But even if I use a generator, I still want to make my names unique. So when I saw 'Bassin', I thought... ooh! Alabassin. He's my young prince and Kayta's love interest.

Speaking of Kayta, she was my original Dungeons and Dragons character. When coming up with her name, I used my middle name, Kay, and added the 'ta'. She's been around since I was 19.

Nightshadow was a character in Cosrin, the online role playing game, and she was an assassin there as well. I just figured she was good at hiding in the shadows and wore clothes black as night.

When trying to rename some of the characters from Cosrin for my books, lots of names just came off the top of my head. Like Talaver (Tale uh ver), Farrehn (Far ehn) and Vendras (Vehn drahs). I just plucked those out of the ether. Same with Senweis (Sehn ways).

Now that list I showed the other day of what not to do when writing fantasy, I said a couple of them applied to me. One was "don't use an apostrophe in a name". Well, bugger that, I have a couple of names like the world itself is named Eir du'Brusai (Air do brew sigh). Kayta's last name is Ni'adzul (Knee add zool) and Alabassin's is Li'endrin (Lee en drin). I also have a continent named Istlandu'us (Ist land us). Those sort of came off the top of my head as well.

Now Nightshadow is an assassin and part of the D'raetus Pastiniir (There's that apostrophe again) and it is pronounced 'dee ray tus past ih near'. They are the elite of the elite as far as assassins go. I got that name mixing Latin and Drow, a form of Tolkien's Elvish language. I have translator sites for those. There are lots of things I used Latin and Drow for. Some names I don't want to use the traditional and go for the mix. When I wanted to call my wizards something else, I thought of the Magi and decided to spell it 'Mahjii'.

A friend of mine came up with the name Kefferlings (kehf er lings) for my elf cat race. My husband came up with Dargorians (Dar gore ee ehns) for my humanoid dragon race. I think I got Firlochians (Fur low key ehns) off of a generator. I didn't think Firlochian sounded much like a name and more like a race.

As for story ideas? I'm going for a somewhat generic plot with this trilogy. Tyrannical king wants to gain more power and is trying to wipe out the only force that can stop him, which happens to be Kayta and her family and armies. An arranged marriage where the intended groom would rather be married to another and a few more twists and turns I won't mention because it will spoil it. I also have another book in the works that will focus on Black Rose. He was my husband's character from Dungeons and Dragons and we've made him a champion of a deity. He'll be fighting an Elemental, in this case an Earth Elemental, that accidentally stepped into the summoning circle of a Mahjii and got possessed by a powerful demon. You'll have to ask my husband how he came up with that one.

Okay, so sorry to ramble on! But hope that answers some questions.


Matthew MacNish said...

I was wondering about this, because you have great fantasy names. I remember the name generator that was built into the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Very cool.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

D&D is full of great name ideas for fantasy! I just randomly write down names and match them to characters. Takes me about thirty minutes.
And I like the new look, Mel! And you have a new photo.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, you DO have some great names. Original but not obviously 'made up' (some fantasy names are too hard to say or just trying too hard) I like your idea of taking a relatively normal name and adding an ending to make it unusual. It gives the reader something to identify with, but leaves it unusual.

Mel Chesley said...

Thanks Matthew! It's funny, when I play World of Warcraft, I've come up with my own names there as well. If I use the generator, I end up changing it anyway.
I have a gnome rogue named Punbur, a Draenai (SP?) shaman named Lanthala and a human Mage named Ifeteri. Hehe!

Thanks Alex! I'm still messing around with the background and colors. Can't seem to find one I like very much. Maybe eventually, lol!

Christina said...

I love the way your blog looks now!