Saturday, May 28, 2011

How to come up with fantasy names

It sounds like most of the people blogging here write fantasy, so today I thought I’d talk about how to come up with names. Sometimes they come when I mistype something. Sometimes they pop up in my head just as a random syllable. Sometimes I get them from a name generator. I’ve gotten a few from baby name sites, but then there’s always a good chance that somebody has the name you want to use. My favorite method is this:

1.       Look around the area you’re sitting/standing/somersaulting/skydiving in. Make a list of the stuff you see, like calculator, frame, notebook, pencil, lamp, etc.
2.        Take one of the words (here I’ll use calculator as an example). Split it up into its separate syllables, or just wherever it divides easily. So now calculator would be Calcu and Lator.
3.       Decide what the names sound like. I’m using Calcu as a traitor, because that’s what the name sounds like to me. But Lator sounds better, like a good person. So I’m using it for a town councilman.
4.       If the word is only one syllable, try scrambling the letters or completely reversing the word. So now frame would become Mafre. 
5.       Sometimes you can just look around at labels and signs and combine words. If you see a DVD cover for Star Wars, then you can use the last part of Star and the first part of Wars and come up with Arwa.

Try not to get the names too hard to pronounce or spell, though. While I really like the Lord of the Rings, it’s hard to pronounce some of those names!

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