Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N Is For Names...

Names are a huge thing in fantasy world building. You're either going to stun and amaze people, or you'll piss them off.

Personally, I like coming up with unique sounding names in my fantasy writing. Sorry to all of you out there who have read my book and can't get over the names. Not my intent. Just like... skip 'em or come up with you own nickname, I suppose.

But that's the point of this post. You want your names to be simple, yet fantastic. This IS fantasy, you know. I don't want my main character running around saying, "Hi! I'm Bob the ogre. Nice to meet you."

Bob? Bob is the slightly overweight, balding guy who sits behind his desk in the managers office of the insurance agency in town and shows off his old high school football trophies to new clients.

No offense to any Bobs out there.


When I came up with the name Kayta, it was while playing Dungeons and Dragons. I took my middle name, Kay, and added the last two letters. I just randomly pulled it out of the air. Then again, names come easily to me. To other people? Not so much, from what I've been told. But there are baby name books out there to help you. Find something with meaning. Try different languages. I named a character Alkarinque once. It's Tolkien's Elven language and it means "a star". There are all sorts of translators out there, use them if you want.

Or, be nice to your readers and give your characters simple names.

It doesn't have to be hard to pronounce to be a fantasy name. It is all personal choice. What seems viable to you may be hard for someone else to pronounce and get past. They might even put the book down. I don't intend for people to put my book down because of the names, but I still will make up a really cool sounding name over something generic. I can't help it. You can find a happy medium. Remember the name Bob? Try spelling it Bahb.

Good luck!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Simple but unique is what I went for when choosing the names for my book. I didn't want names no one could pronounce.

Heather M. Gardner said...

I steal lots of names from college football players. I watch a ton of it.


Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I love creative names, but sometimes people are such dullards when it comes to them. For example, one kid I played D&D with called his character "Dun Geon." Get it? Dungeon separated.

So dumb.

Jai said...

I like coming up with names that are easily pronounced but I play with the spelling.

I don't mind hard names to read, my brain just assigns meaning to that mass of letters.

Unknown said...

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of names I can't figure out. Usually ones that are super long, have apostrophes, and/or whatnot. But I love creative names. Kayta is a good one, and I love how you came up with it.

Trisha said...

I always find it a bit disappointing when characters in fantasy fiction have "normal" names from our world. Unless they are people actually from our world going into different worlds, of course.

Donna Hosie said...

Creating characters is such fun, and naming them is the most fun of all. I'm delving into Norse mythology for my latest series, and finding names and their meanings is eye-opening.