Surnames are just as important as given names. So, I compiled a list of the websites I use to find my surnames.
- English Surnames
- Dutch Surnames
- Spanish Surnames
- Scottish Surnames
- German Surnames
- Italian Surnames
- Irish Surnames
- French Surnames
- Scandinavian Surnames
- Welsh Surnames
- Jewish Surnames
- Surnames By Ethnicity
- Most Common Surnames in the USA
- Most Common Surnames in Great Britan
- Most Common Surnames in Asia
They suggested that you could use it to see how many people IRL have your character(s)’ name(s), and I thought that was a pretty cool idea. Check it out if you have time! Thanks for sharing!
|... I think of Shakespeare first when I hear Hermione, then of Harry Potter. Might be just me.|
Forgot about that! I kind of think of both, but the first book I can remember reading is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone, so I’m a bit biased…
|I write a lot of fantasy, so I make up most of my names and they have less baggage. Mostly I just choose things I like the sound of, but there are some contributing factors. For example, in one of my countries, all proper nouns start with 'N' and in another, having a name containing 'ia' signifies you're important, letting me do fun things like have a smug character named Alica spell her name Alicia or having a girl named Kelana who becomes a hero have her name recorded in history as Kelania.|
|Names are actually one of the few writing things that doesn't give me problems. I usually have a sense of 'oh this character needs this name'. but I've read that a good rule of thumb is to not choose a name you'll get tired of. The characters name is something you'll be using a lot. If it's too unwieldy to type you'll get aggravated. So choose something you're willing to type over and over.|
|Sometimes I feel like I use too many odd names, would you say that is a bad thing? I feel like if I have one character with one really weird name, then it would make them seem more important than they really are.|
I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all! I think unique names can define a series, and, if you get published and popular, define a name.
I mean, who thinks of anything but Harry Potter when they hear the name Hermione?
|I'm an auditory person, so voices and dialogues come to me first. I also think names are very important, so the meanings have to fit as well as how they sound. If a character is a little rough, I'm not going to give them a fluid sounding name like Meluan. It's the way the words sound in my head and how they pertain to the character's personality that's most important to me, rather than to any particular physicality. TL;DR Looks are unrelated to names or personalities in my brain. :)|
|for what it's worth, I have a small story from my elementary school days about how sometimes names are associated with a certain appearance. I was hanging out with people who were, at that time, my inner circle of friends. One of the guys, whom I considered my best friend in the whole wide world, was commenting on our appearance saying, "see, Allyson looks like a Michelle, Joey looks like a Joe," he then pointed at my other friend, Helen, "but you don't look like a Helen."|
|I wanna join in! Personally, I tend to use names as a backbone for personality--such as looking up their meanings/origins and such. I normally stay away from names that are too common to me (if I know someone with the same name, I tend to get my character's personality confused with theirs and vice versa (if I'm not careful, of course)). I don't think it's vital to know a name before you flesh out a character, but for me it makes things a whole lot easier if you develop around it.|
|Names are more important to me than appearances are, for characters. The name has to hold some kind of meaning, even if it's obscure or personal or so convoluted no one would ever figure it out. Actually, I like that kind of meaning the best, because that way you don't have readers going, "Wait, why did her parents name her something that means 'chosen one' when they couldn't have known she was going to be the chosen one?" Although if a character chose their own name it's a different story...|
I try to give my characters names that make sense after you’ve read the story. Also, I sometimes use ironic names just to mess with people.
|For me, the character's situation usually determines their personality. My MCs are total opposites; one was in the military and the other was homeless. The ex-soldier is tall, muscular, and has short hair and serious features. The homeless one is very lean, with longer hair and a more curious sort of look to him. People's appearances change as their situation does, just remember that!|
|I think I'm kind of a mix between the two main camps we've seen so far. Personality shouldn't decide the things about a character that they get naturally, like whether they have blue eyes or green or what color their hair is, but I think that what a character does to affect their appearance says a lot about who they are. A girly girl might spend a couple hours every morning curling and styling her hair, but a tomboy's more likely to throw it up in a messy ponytail before running out the door.|
This is sort of reminding me of Sherlock Holmes and being able to deduce things about someone’s personality by the way they look…
(Sorry, nerd moment right there.)
But yes; I think you can definitely see into a person’s or character’s mind a bit by looking at their clothes, make up/lack of make up, etc. Of course, you could very well be wrong if you tried this in real life, but dropping hints and using indirect characterization in your story definitely gives readers information about characters that would be difficult to say otherwise.
|Do you think names are as important on shaping their personality? Because all of my character have names in which I associate with that specific personality. Or is it just me?|
I think certain names can make people think of certain personality traits and even evoke stereotypical images in the readers’ minds. I most definitely associate characteristics with names, and sometimes that makes it very hard for me to create the perfect name for my characters!
For example, I always think of a small, blonde girl when I hear the name Brittney. I don’t have any good reason for doing this, but I knew about five little blonde Brittneys in elementary school, so it’s always stuck with me. Therefore, I’d never give that name to a character who didn’t fit my personal image of a Brittney, but I know it’s all irrational and doesn’t necessarily make any sense.
On the other hand, my characters’ names have evolved multiple times without the character themselves changing at all. My female lead character in particular has had four different first names over the past four months. I grow tired of the names, or I don’t think they fit right, and I change them. I think I’ve finally found the name that’s right for my character, but I might think otherwise in a month or two!
It’s all very delicate, and definitely down to personal judgement. In real life, a person’s name doesn’t determine their personality, but the people you’ve met in the past can alter your personal view on a name(i.e., if a boy named Cole was mean to you, you probably associate that name with bad things). Characters are always a self portrait of the writer, and even their names can tell a reader things about the author that even you may not realize.
Short answer: No, it’s not just you! :)
|Ooooooh a new debate :D have to get involved. My characters' appearances have little or no bearing on their personalities, they don't really link at all. Most of my friends in real life have completely different personalities to their appearances, so it comes naturally to me.|