Catch the wind

Catch the wind

Monday, August 29, 2011

...whos it???

getting names for characters is fun!! cool characters got cool names!

do you remember these names? scarlett o’hara…ebenezer scrooge… hannibal lecter…hansel & gretel…darth vader…harry potter…lassie

how come we remember them? cause their names fit the genre and era & specially fit who they are. & theyre easy to say.


how could we make sure we get cool names?
1. use different first letters for names. dont use larry, lilly, luke and lenny. for sure thats not cool & its confusing
2. dont do a name thats hard to say cause the reader doesnt wanna stop and figure it out or stumble over it every time he sees it. make names rhythmic. exotic & alien & strange names are ok as long as the reader can say it.
3. use only one unusual or exotic name per book
4. names should fit the era and genre and be age appropriate
5. dont use names that sound the same like harry & larry or zack & jack
6. dont use names ending in s cause for possession its hissy sounding
7. dont use alliteration unless its a kids story
8. short one syllable hard consonant names are good for guy names. like dirk, ken, grant, trent
9. two syllable soft consonant names are good for girls. Like gina, sherrie, Jennifer, suzy
10. dont use names thats the same for male & female. terry, lee, kelly
11. use names with meanings if its important to the story
12. nicknames are ok for characters that are close to each other
13.  watch out for loaded names. that ones that are associated from books,  movies, tv, history, like scarlett, oprah, aldolph and romeo.
14. be open to change. if a names not working for you try another one
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where could you get some name help?
1. baby name book for first names and meanings
2. phone books and year books
3. encyclopedia
4. on line name generators
5. on line search for character & pet names
6. from your past and real life
7. atlas for place names (change up some letters for fantasy)
8. your imagination!
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want a real neat idea?
keep a name notebook!!! every time you see a cool name write it down and get it into your name notebook. later you could find just the right name for your characters from all the ones you got in that notebook. wow! how cool is that!
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how bout you?
how do you get good names for your characters? what could you wanna add on to the lists i did?
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…hugs from lenny
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where i got the stuff for this post
1. spilling ink – a young writers handbook by anne mazer & ellen potter (it was a neat present from famous author dianne salerni)
2. writing magic – creating stories that fly by gail carson levine
3. on line article: whats in a name? by cynthia van rooy
4. google.com search

41 comments:

  1. Great naming tips, Lenny!

    My characters just seem to come to me with their names. Maybe that's my subconscious at work.

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  2. Lenny, what a smart post! Those are very useful tips - ALL of them! I usually try to name my characters based on personality. :-)

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  3. Thanks, Lenny! Great post. Names are so annoying sometimes.

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  4. I get names off of high school attendance sheets. Lol, well some of them anyway. You'd be amazed at some of the names you come across everyday. I ran into the first name "Makepeace" the other day.

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  5. Hi Lenny .. I'd like a Lenny!

    This is a great post - I was going to do a post on names .. just never got there YET!

    Two more suggestions .. gravestones .. wonderful old fashioned names there .. and famous people - see where they came from and how their name was changed ...

    I cannot believe how names have changed over the years, and how today .. there are so many new names! Brooklyn, Romeo .. etc etc (I know Romeo's ancient too!) ..

    Rowdy Raccoon is giving me a good look over next to the comment box .. hope you'll have a critter good week .. cheers - Hilary

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  6. wow- this was an excellent post Lenny! So many great ideas and things to keep in mind when choosing character names! I love your list- epecially the name Hurley.

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  7. Since I write science fiction, most of the names are unusual, but I kept them short and simple.

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  8. Great ideas for names! I like to watch movie credits for name ideas. :)

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  9. Those are some great tips! I struggle with names so I appreciate the list of places I can look up names. I never thought of the phonebook.

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  10. Great post!

    I hadn't thought of trying a phone book before, but it would have a lot of names!

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  11. Yay! I'm so glad you found good stuff in Spilling Ink! And these are all wonderful tips! I especially like suggestions #1, 2, and 3.

    I can also add this suggestion. Don't give every character a fancy, modern-sounding name like: Jaden, Dakota, Ambler, Danica, etc. Some people still have names like Bob, Mary, Tom, and Jane. Throw a few ordinary names into the story, too!

    Also, when I'm writing a story in a historical setting, I look at online lists of names that were popular in that time period for ideas.

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  12. Great suggestions Lenny. These are really helpful tips for me as I'm thinking of a new project and new names. I've also found names in the newspaper or my daughter's school directories.

    I do love Sad Day Monster. I bet that will be a fun story.

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  13. Nice tips. I like the idea of a name notebook. I tend to remember some of the more interesting ones I hear, but writing them down is always helpful. One of my favorite names that I really want to use for a character sometime came from a girl in one of my college classes.

    -Lauren

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  14. I like to mix up the names of people I know...so my characters might have the first name of one person and the last name of another!

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  15. Great post, Lenny! I love looking at river names. I try and keep a notebook handy all the time for names. :)

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  16. Thanks for the great post, Lenny, which is very timely. I've been writing a children's story about a monkey and need to find a name for him. I was calling him Mokey, and it was pointed out to me that could be confusing for kids since it's so close to monkey. Any suggestions? I know you love animals!

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  17. You always have the greatest ideas, Lenny! :)

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  18. Great ideas and suggestions Lenny! I'll be sure to use these tips next time I need to choose some character names.
    :)
    You're the best!

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  19. Great tips! I like the "Name Notebook" idea. I usually just think up a name as I'm writing, but having a list to look at just might make it easier. ;)

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  20. Thanks for the tips! I especially like the idea of keeping a name notebook. Have a great week Lenny! :)

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  21. A name notebook. I've collected words and great lines, but never a notebook with names. Great idea!!

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  22. Great tips! Names are so important! In a story I wrote a while back, the 2 main characters' names both started with A. I was glad when someone pointed it out - I changed one of them and made it better! :)

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  23. Those are great Lenny! I get mine from baby name posts online. So awesome. ;)

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  24. FANTASTIC POST! Thanks for such great info!

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  25. This is such an excellent list, Lenny, I have no idea what to add! Great idea having a notebook too! I don't really have a specific formula when choosing my names. But I make sure I choose one that fits with their personality and ethnicity. I like to have characters that come from all over the world in my books :o)

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  26. Great list, Lenny! I always try to pick names with meanings, even if it's only meaningful for me. And I'm glad to see that my name is a good one for girls :) Woo-hoo!

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  27. What a super, Super Lenny post. I love number one the best. I've never tried that, but I am going to do it in my next picture book. (Btw, you slipped this post in on me.) ;-) I had been faithfully checking for new posts on your blog and the moment I let up... I'm just SO glad to see a post from you. The blogosphere isn't the same when you aren't posting. It's a dull place without you. :-)

    Excellent thoughts here, Lenny! I have used the phone book before. And real life too. I do love a notebook. But I scribble everything in it. Names, ideas, conversations I over hear. You name it, it's in the notebook!

    I think I will have one notebook just for names though. Thanks for such fantastic ideas.

    xo

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  28. Thanks Lenny. This is a great post. You are absolutely right about names leaving an impression. I always learn a thing or two from your blogs. This is Munir over here at Focus.

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  29. These are great ideas! Thanks so much, Lenny! :)

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  30. Hi, Lenny! I just came from Lydia's blog. These are some great tips to keep in mind! :)

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  31. Lenny, I could've used your advice before I started my WIP. I introduced three people in the first chapter, all with names starting with D. My beta readers were all confused. I changed the names. Now sometimes ~I~ get confused. This is a great list of tips. Thanks!

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  32. Excellent tips!

    I use baby name website all the time, mostly to find a name that fits with a word that has to do with the character or story.

    #10 - When I was your age, I read the Nancy Drew books, I was so confused about her friend George. It took me so long to realize George was a female. I had assumed she was a female.

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  33. That's a very helpful list, Lenny. Thanks! I always use baby name books or online baby name sites. Meanings of names are important to me when I'm writing. I'll have to try some of your other ideas.

    I love your notebook suggestion. What a cool idea.

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  34. So many fantastic ideas to formulate character names. Great list, Lenny!

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  35. Hi Lenny, great post! I like to keep a name list. You've shared some wonderful tips. Thanks!

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  36. I keep a name book--every time I hear an interesting name, I write it down. :) Then, when I'm looking for that 'perfect name', my name book is the first place I look.

    Great advice!

    Angela@ The Bookshelf Muse

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  37. All GREAT advice! :o) You've included all the best rules. I like to get names from baby books or from other languages--especially Latin since I know a lot of plant and animals' scientific, Latin names. Ha, ha.

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  38. Great tips, Lenny! Picking character names is one of my favorite parts of starting a new story! It's so good to be back to blogging and I'm glad to see you're back too!!!

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  39. I use baby name websites, but it's still hard to find a good name. I'll use some of your wonderful tips.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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  40. What a great post, Lenny. I really hate it when authors use the same letter for first names! It's so confusing!

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  41. Awesome list, Lenny - it's the best I've seen on the subject, and I've saved it on my computer, right with my file full of names.

    Back before computers, I'd find cool names in movie credits. Especially last names. And I still do that.

    Thanks again!

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whatever wonderful, warm, witty and wise words you manage to come up with!