I've read in several threads that some people have difficulties finding fitting names for their characters (me included) — names seem to be such a minor thing, but it can actually be pretty hard to find the perfect name for a character or creature or species.
In this tutorial I list some of the criteria I use to find fitting names. Maybe my steps can be helpful for other people.
If you find mistakes or encounter problems, please let me know.
The tutorial includes information about how I choose fitting names for characters and some thoughts about different criteria like the sound of names, their meaning and catchiness.
Please excuse my poor English. I had to translate the whole thing and I hope you can understand my grammar.
includes: 1 × tutorial (750 px)
It includes the tutorial in higher resolution.
includes: 3 × tutorial (1000 px) + 1 × tutorial (750 px); English version
newest version: 1 / 07-14
I would also like to compliment you on your beautiful editorial design! May I ask which typeface (font) you used for your bodytext and headers respectfully?
Thank you. Yes, you're right; the meaning of a name changes and also associations connected to it (sometimes even how popular and frequently used a name is can already change its effect on listeners/readers). But this "evolved" meaning can be very vague and that's why I would always start with the original meaning and go from there.
Rick might not be a fitting name for a king, but its full version Richard (because the original words rihhi (rich) and harti (hard) still have the appropriate meaning and feel to them).
Thanks. The font for the continuous text is Permian Slab Serif and for the headlines and highlights it's FKneoz.
I understand English is not good enough, but this article I was able to to read and I think it is useful and interesting.
I feel like names are complex enough that there should be classes or books dedicated to this topic alone. Especially for things like the beginning of the tutorial where you mention how the sounds of the letters can add their own meanings to the name, which was something I hadn't even realized I was doing with some of my characters.
There're books on names, but they usually concentrate on their meaning and origin or the development of different naming systems.
Sounds are an intuitive aspect. Usually we already use appropriate sounds even without knowing. I think I forgot to mention in the tutorial that sounds change in different situations depending on the type of emphasis (Susi? sounds different than Susi! and different than Susi?!)
I don't doubt that there are probably several books on names but, as you said, they're more about name meanings and origin. It would be interesting to read a book that focuses more on the letters of a name and how pairing them effects a name or rather the impression the name gives. Something like "The Psychology of Letters in Names" or along those lines at least would be interesting.
The sound of names in different situations is another thing to consider as well. I didn't even think about how a name would sound in different tones of voice. Now I can't help but think of those names that have alternate pronunciations. I can't begin to describe how often I stumble over the name Andrea. I can never remember if their name is pronounced AnDREa or ANdrea. Names can become a complicated mess at times, I guess.
I think the meaning of letters goes back to the development of fonts and symbols as early images. That has more to do with typography and how letters are created and what their style and appearance tells about them.
In the end it's about how you want a name to be pronounced. Unfortunately, even in movies actors and writers don't always agree on the pronunciation and a name sometimes changes from scene to scene depending on who uses it. But in the end every reader or listener creates an own version of a name (for example if they've always pronounced a name in a particular way they probably won't change it even if the name is pronounced differently or if there's a really difficult name they pronounce it how they think it works best). You can only "suggest" a pronunciation, but people usually will pronounce it differently anyway.
There are also those moments were you know how a name is supposed to be pronounced and yet you still pronounce it in a way that is considered wrong. Sean is a good example of that since when reading it out loud, it's easy to read it as it looks rather than how it's meant to sound.
(It's been a long time since I've been on here apparently. I'm sorry if this reply came at random for you due to how late I responded.)
No problem. I have the bad habit of needing a long time for some responses too
If you've been using a name for a long time in a particular way then it sometimes can be confusing or even shocking when you hear its "correct" pronunciation. This has happened to me more than once
I was wrong and incredibly impressed.
Whoa dang… I was expecting something more along the lines of "Think of the meaning you want for your character's name- but not too literal!" and "Think of the parameter when saying the name" and other tips like that.
This was a lot more than I anticipated- and I'm incredibly impressed. I learned a lot from this tutorial, thank you for sharing!
so thanks it will be very usefull
Thanks, I'm happy if it's useful, although I don't know what process Tolkien uses.
I want furry not.....This!