Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cliche Fantasy Names...

I've been working on the glossary for my second book. I wanted to do a cover reveal this week, but discovered I hadn't purchased the rights to the image yet. Apparently, I was waiting. So now I have to wait some more and purchase said image tomorrow.

Then I can do a reveal.

Book two, "Veritas" will hopefully be ready to go by July 31st. In that time, I need to work on my glossary of names, pronunciations and a map.

I'm doubtful about the map. I have GIMP and have gone through one of the only good tutorials I could find, but my map still doesn't come out the way it should. So I don't have much faith in getting a map done in time. It may be something I add later on to a new page here on my blog.

What I do have plenty of, is hard-to-pronounce, cliche fantasy names.

I'm going to tell you right now. I'm PROUD of this fact, even though it garnered me some bad reviews.

I'm old-school. You all know that. I write what I want to read and for me, those names are challenging, fantastical and imaginative.

I don't like reading fantasy where the name of the character is Karen or Bob.

So how do you come up with those tongue-twister names? Well, there are random fantasy name generators out there. There are your Dungeons and Dragons manuals to peruse and garner ideas. But if you are creative and love the challenge of coming up with names, like me, wing it!

Some of the names of my cities and kingdoms came from generators, but if I didn't like the name, I changed it until I liked it. I have a city called Ouldris (Ool driss) and the sea located near it is called Au-Ouldris (Ow Ool driss). Granted, my pronunciation technique isn't the best, but you get the idea.

I have to say, a lot of my names did just pop into my head. There were times I felt like I was channeling Tolkien. Other names I came up with using Latin translators or even going to the Elven to Common website. I'm not allowed to use any of the Elven language created by Tolkien, but I could mix it with Latin (sometimes I didn't even use the Elven) and came up with my own. That is what I like about a lot of the names and titles. Using your imagination. Isn't that what writing is about?

I have lots of tips and tricks for coming up with names. Baby name books came in handy for characters, sometimes. I would switch around letters, add letters. People would often ask me how I came up with the name Kayta, back when Kayta was a paper Dungeons and Dragons character. Kayta is the product of me. My middle name is Kay, I just added the 'ta'. It worked. Right?

So how do you come up with names for your characters and other things in your books?


Cheri Chesley said...

My character naming source book says that names should match genre, but I admit the small part of me that wants to thrust Karen and Bob into high fantasy, just to see how they'd make out. So romance should have romantic names, fantasy should have fantasy names, etc. It just makes sense.

The book I'm working on right now is high fantasy, and the characters are Aisilyn, Gennavieve, and Drago. To name a few. This one is religion-based, so there's that to draw from. But Aisilyn I got from a friend--or her mama, if you want to look at it that way, since she named her that. :)

I get a lot of names from people I know, or at least the base of them. So many I adapt to better fit my genre.

Anonymous said...

I usually like to find obscure names that mean something, as I do with 'reality' projects. I find a lot of them from either Sanskrit or Finnish or Native American. And then my character names get stolen by my player characters - like Kearte Sokol is my current Defiance character, and derived from the Finnish for 'warbler' or 'ladybird' who is a shaman in my WIP PLUS a Slovak surname meaning 'falcon' which a key family has in same WIP.

Mel Chesley said...

@Roland - that is awesome! I use a lot of my character names for my games, too. I end up liking them so much, I throw them into my RPG's and see how I can develop them further.

@Cheri - I agree that names should match genre. That's why I go with the cliche, hard-to-pronounce fantasy names. Just to keep people on their toes.