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Fantasy Writers

Fantasy Names for people and things

  • This topic has 15 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 3 weeks ago by Rose.
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  • #126342
    Katherine Baker
    @kb-writer

    I’ve hit a bit of a snag with my character names… (Apologies in advance, this is going to be very long)

    I’ve just finished the first draft of the story I’m writing, and almost every name needs changing (they were all placeholder names). The problem is I’ve grown really attached to many of them. Maybe you all can help me figure out what to do.

    For a bit of context, this story is set in a world that has had magic for many years, but did not originally have it. It was gifted to two Immortals and then spread to every person on earth, shattering the old world order. But that was many years ago and largely irrelevant to the plot.

    Magic is based on colors (Green – nature/elemental; blue – mind; pink – healing; black – death; orange/yellow – power; red – blood magic, capable of any feet, but kills the user).

    With that knowledge of the world, maybe you can help me with names. Here’s all the characters/ things that either need renaming, or confirmation on whether or not it works.

    PLACE NAMES

    -The Freelands. This is a desert country that many live in to flee Immortal rule. Liberty and personal glory are very important here, and magic is not highly valued beyond what it can do for the individual.

    -Wokenland. This is the most stable and oldest country of the three main ones. They put very high spiritual value on magic, and give deference to the more powerful. The evil immortal, as such, kind of lets them do their own thing, since they respect him so much.

    -Princelandia. This is probably my least favorite of the three names, and very much a placeholder name. This country was colonized, I guess, after being more like a continent of many smaller nation-states. The evil immortal forcibly united it, and it is ruled both of fear, and a propaganda-based twisting of the previously-held value of community that each mini nation held.

    “THING” NAMES

    Grayborn – A title for anyone who is born without magic. They literally are born gray, and are often referred to as ‘Walking corpses’ for their pale-as-death appearance. I think I like this name, but it also feel super simple. Do you think it works?

    The Rebels. The good guy team. Need something better, since they serve the bad immortal’s equal (good immortal). The good immortal doesn’t really have any political power, so they are a marginalized group with strong ideological differences from any country they live in, but I don’t think “rebel” is quite right.

    The Frozen Stopwatch. This is the dumbest name of all. This is the stopwatch the Blood Prince bound the bad immortal’s life to so he would die when it reached zero. The bad immortal then used green/elemental magic to freeze it (so it wouldn’t tick down to zero) and then covered it with black/death magic so anyone who touched it would die.

    CHARACTER NAMES

    Unity – the evil immortal. The plot revolves around killing him. This name was based on an earlier concept of him that has since been changed. Basically, he enjoys orchestrating world events to his favor, and rules/controls most of the world in vastly different ways. He doesn’t really care how as long as he ends up in power, and as such the three main countries the story is set in all operate very differently.

    One Master – Ugh! I hate this one! This is the good immortal, and is kind of a leftover from an old concept. I’ve thought of changing it to The One, because of a naming sequence that I’ve used for important good guys, but I’m really open to anything.

    The Blood Prince – A moniker given to the son of the good immortal after he used blood magic to tie the bad immortal’s life to a stopwatch. The moniker was originally meant to demonize him, but many of the good guys use it as well to honor his sacrifice.

    Lana – She’s the main character. She’s a grayborn who was trained to be an assassin by the bad immortal, but betrays him in hopes of letting him die so his son can take the throne in his place.

    Prince Luc – He’s the son of the bad immortal. He is a close friend and confident to Lana, even promising her liberty “once he takes his father’s place”, but can also be manipulative.

    Noah – This name might need to change for being too ‘traditional’, but I’ve grown quite attached. He’s the first ‘rebel’ that Lana encounters, and he serves as one of her guides in finding the good immortal, as well as the glue that holds the trio of mains together through all the distrust and conflicting loyalties. He’s Courtney’s brother.

    Courtney – Another one that might need to change for being to traditional. She’s the second rebel that guides Lana, and is quite a hothead, as well as insanely gifted and incredibly distrusting of Lana. She’s Noah’s sister.

    The Healer/The Judge/The Nurturer/The Preacher/ – This is the naming scheme I’ve used for anyone important to the good guy team. They have often met the good immortal before and been given the names based on a defining good deed they did for the good side. They are also entrusted with details to the good immortal’s location

    Thanks in advance for helping me out. I know this is a ton to work through, but I’ve been using these place names so long I really don’t know if they work or not. Any input is much appreciated.

    Always remember you're unique...
    ...Just like everyone else

    #126359
    Zee
    @zee

    @kb-writer, I actually like most of these names as they stand. I think they work well for a fantasy setting…even “The Frozen Stopwatch” adds a little bizarre humor to a story that could have the potential to take itself too seriously…

    For “Princelandia,” maybe something like, “The Confederation?” “The United Republics?”

    As for character names, is there a particular real-world culture or time period that you’re drawing a lot of inspiration from? For example, for traditional Medieval-style fantasy setting, you might want to go with French or Germanic-sounding names, such as you might find in Song of Roland, or the King Arthur stories.

    Or what about cracking open the Heimskringla for a wealth of Icelandic and Northern European names? An ice-bound fantasy featuring characters with names like Snorri or Gudred would be pretty cool (but maybe that’s just my personal opinion.)

    Names like “Noah,” and “Courtney” sound very contemporary, which would work for a story with a more modern, dystopian-world fantasy, (which this might be, considering a stopwatch plays a major role?) but otherwise, might feel out of place.

    Best of luck as you continue brainstorming this…

    #126362
    Erynne
    @erynne

    @kb-writer

    So I really like a lot of your names, but yeah I think a few might need to be changed.

    The Freelands is good, I don’t think you would need to change it unless you really felt you need to. It’s easy to remember, but not incredibly cliche which is really nice.

    Wokenland is a good name, I just don’t know that it’s the best name for this particular place. It might be different in your story, but based on your description it just doesn’t seem to fit.

    Princelandia probably needs to be changed.

    Grayborn is alright! It fits well and it’s different! If you did end up changing it, my suggestion would be to find a different word besides gray to use. Replace it with a synonym.

    The Rebels probably needs to be changed as well. It’s kinda a cliche name and like you said, it just doesn’t feel right.

    I totally agree with you on The Frozen Stopwatch. I see how you got the name, but there’s probably a better choice. (I really hope I’m not sounding rude!)

    I like Unity! That’s not a word you hear too often. You should keep it in my opinion.

    One Master is alright, but you could probably think of something better.

    The Blood Prince isn’t that bad. You could really go either way on that one.

    Lana is good! I’ve always liked that name!

    Prince Luc is very unique. I’ve never seen that spelling before, but the name it’s self is kind of ordinary. That is, if I’m pronouncing it correctly. Is it like Luke?

    Noah is a really good name, and I like it but I do hear it a lot. With character names, you really have to go with personality. If you have this really big, tough dude you don’t want to give him a name like idk, Bubu. Unless, of course it’s comedy and you’re purposely trying to do that. For example, I have pirates in my fantasy and largest and scariest one is named Pete.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Courtney can stay or go. That one is common, but still uncommon if that makes any sense XD</p>
    The Healer/The Judge/The Nurturer/The Preacher/ are all good as long as they are actually whatever their title is. For instance, you wouldn’t want The Healer going around poisoning people. (I know, Captain Obvious right?)
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>So, I hope this helps! If you end up looking for different names for the people my most helpful tip would be to look up unique baby names. That’s how I get all my names and I’m pretty satisfied with them. If you need help or opinions on coming up with new things for anything else, just let me know and I’ll do what I can ;)</p>

    #126364
    Katherine Baker
    @kb-writer

    @zee

    This was incredibly helpful. Thank you so much!

    Ooh! I like your options for Princlandia! I’m definitely using one of them.

    As for cultural inspiration, there are actually 3. Princelandia is largely drawing inspiration from Western Europe, particularly England, and more medieval in nature. A lot more normal-fantasy. The Freelands are drawing inspiration from the US. There ideology is very similar to that of the US (freedom and liberty, escaping a tyrannical empire, etc). And Wokenland draws inspiration from various African cultures and folklore.

    In an older iteration of the story, these three nations were literally the UK, US, and Costal Africa, just an alternate dimension of the three, which is why the two siblings, Noah and Courtney, have such contemporary placeholder names.

    Noah and Courtney are Freelandian, the more American-inspired place, though in Universe there is a lot of cross-cultural exchange from both Wokenland and Princelandia, since it’s less a place you want to go and more a place you flee to to leave behind an old life/Immortal rule.

    Does that give any more ideas for names? I really like your Icelandic/Northern European naming idea, and might use it to re-name some minor characters from Princelandia.

    I also somewhat enjoy your ironic enjoyment of The Frozen Stopwatch. It’s so bad, but has been steadily growing on me. Maybe I just need to acknowledge the strangeness in-universe…

    Always remember you're unique...
    ...Just like everyone else

    #126365
    Katherine Baker
    @kb-writer

    @erynne

    Thank you so much for this! That was super helpful to see your thoughts on each thing in the list (and you did not at all sound rude!). I’ll give you a few of my thoughts on your thoughts here.

    Freelands – glad to hear you like it. This is probably my favorite of the three country names.

    Wokenland – Yeah, originally I gave it the name because it… woke up?… to magic and was the first place to truly embrace it. But I might change this one too. I’ll keep sitting on it.

    Unity – Ooh, I’m glad to hear you still like it. I had grown really attached to it since sticking with the name for so long, and it’s nice to hear it makes sense to a story outsider despite the changes.

    Prince Luc – Yes, it is pronounced like Luke.

    Noah – I agree that it’s super generic. Personality-wise, he’s very sweet and level-headed, and a bit of a jokester. He’s generally quick to forgive and empathetic.

    The Preacher/Healer/etc. – Yes, there names fit their roles. The poisoning Healer would be rather funny, though.

    Always remember you're unique...
    ...Just like everyone else

    #126375
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @kb-writer

    Heya Katherine!

    Your story sounds really interesting, and you sound like you’ve put a lot of thought into worldbuilding!

    For the names, I actually like those you currently have! You can tweak those you don’t like (like the others suggested) and that’ll work perfectly fine, and the names will be easier to remember.

    But if you want them to sound more high-fantasy-ish, I have a naming trick that may help. I’ve been using it for my fantasy WIP’s and I like the results!

    It’s pretty simple, you just take a relevant word (For Princelandia, you can take prince, royal, prince-land, or royal-land, for example) and put it into google translate. Translate it into a bunch of different languages and see if you find something that sounds good.

    I like to stick with language groups that are relevant to the setting, for my current WIP I used a lot of Turkish, Persian, Kurdish, and other languages like that. You might want to use Scandinavian, Welsh, Frisian, and Icelandic, and more of that sort.

    You sometimes have to play with the words a bit and change the spelling, but you can find some cool-sounding names in there! I used this technique for the names of the seven tribes in my story and it gave some cool names like Gitakan, Sanat, Orme, Kezbe, Qeyik, and Lehabim.

    But learn from my mistakes and write down the language and the translation, because if you take out stuff like accents and add letters, it could be hard to figure it out later.

    If you change the names, put them back in Google translate to check that they haven’t changed the meaning. This happened with Gitakan. For the life of me, I have no idea what that meant, and when I try to translate it back, it only gives me ‘song’ in Hindi.

    This will work with the objects too.

    For the human names, if you want to make them a bit more ‘fantasy’ you can add and subtract a few letters to change the sound. For Noah, maybe something like Noam, or Noar? I haven’t used this myself, but I think it might work.

    I hope this was helpful and I wish you all success with your WIP!

     

     

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by Rose. Reason: Copied a tag wrong XD

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #126394
    Skylarynn
    @skylarynn

    @kb-writer

    I come up with tons of names for my characters and worlds and such (Countries/places like Kitharin, the Milsi Plains, the Keltigaels, and the Nightwold; names like Brendin, Amillia, Karayan, Declan, Satine; groups like the Greycloaks; etc.) so I’m more than happy to make some suggestions.

    The Freelands – It’s a perfectly fine name if you want to keep it.  If not, maybe see if you can figure out a variation of ‘haven’ or ‘sanctum’ that works?  I’d suggest Liberania if it didn’t sound cheesy.  My own main country is actually similarly named; as a whole it is called simply Haven, but it’s been split into five duchies: Northaven, Easthaven, Southaven, Westhaven, and Caphaven.

    Wokenland – It’s certainly an interesting name, but not one I’m sure works.  Perhaps look at some words for ‘awakening’ in various African languages and see if you can get inspiration from those?

    Princelandia – I’d say this one really needs to go.  A few ideas come to mind: one is to take some form of Barony and use that, since a barony is the lands and property owned by a baron, and a baron is a title but can also mean a powerful overlord, so if it’s called Barony it’s the lands and property owned by a powerful overlord.  Or you could name it after the largest former colony.  Or some of the largest former colonies.

    Grayborn – Perfectly serviceable as is, but if you really want to change it perhaps ashborn would be more suitable (since if they’re born grey, their complexion is technically ashen?  And ashes are the byproducts of fire, or the ‘waste’, and in a society that values magic they would be seen as ‘byproducts’ or ‘wastes of space’?)?

    The Rebels – About as generic as you can get really, but that doesn’t make it a bad name.  But if they’re all followers of the One Master (or the One), perhaps call them the Disciples or the Apostles?  Granted that would depend on their personal relationships with the One, but if it works it might be a good alternative.

    The Frozen Stopwatch – I do appreciate how quirky a name this is, but I’m not sure it’s sinister enough for what it refers to.  I have a few suggestions: The Malison Watch (malison means ‘curse’); The Watch Verglas (verglas is a thin coating of ice – the grammar here is like saying ‘the life eternal’); or perhaps The Gelid Timepiece (gelid meaning ‘extremely cold’ or, if of a person, ‘hostile’, which correlates to the deadliness of the watch…)

    Unity – A good name for an immortal.  Have you read the Discworld?  There’s a character within called Unity, I can’t remember which book.  Also, in a reflection of your One Master/The One, Unity means the value of one in mathematics.  I think you could keep it or find something of similar meaning.  If we’re going for irony Harmony would be a great name.

    One Master – I agree it needs to be changed.  The One sounds fine, or The Master if you don’t mind the Doctor Who reference.  Maybe The Elder?

    The Blood Prince – I think this is perfectly suitable if left alone.  If you still don’t like it, perhaps The Red Prince (since the blood magic is red)?

    Lana – I don’t know if her name fits her character.  If she’s going to betray Unity, perhaps a derivative of Emily (meaning ‘rival’) or Mary (meaning ‘bitter’).  Mara isn’t far off from Lana, and it means both ‘bitter’ and ‘sea’, which may be fitting if she has blue eyes or something.  Sloane means ‘warrior’, and she is an assassin.  Sloane is also not far off from slate, and Lana’s a grayborn.

    Prince Luc – I like this as is.  There’s several layers of ironies to it.  Luc (or Luke) means ‘light’, and he seems to be ‘the light’ to Lana by your description, at least initially.  But he’s also manipulative, so it’s fitting that this name could also be seen as a shortening of Lucifer (‘light-bringer’, hence the ‘luc’ in the beginning).  If you don’t like Luc or are looking for something more sophisticated, Oleander means ‘poisonous flower’.

    Noah – I also rather like this name, but if you need to change it perhaps try Nolan or Noel/Nole (pronounced like Nole) which sound similar.

    Courtney – This name is fine, but if you need an alternative Aiden and Adara mean ‘fire’.

    The Healer/The Judge/The Nurturer/The Preacher/ – These work fine I think.

    Hope this is helpful.

    "Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. Hale

    #126396
    Erynne
    @erynne

    @kb-writer

    Ok cool! I’m really glad I was able to help a little bit! And yes, a poisoning healer would be funny. Do you have any comedy in your story?

    #126404
    Katherine Baker
    @kb-writer

    @skylarynn

    Great advice, thank you! Wow, I’m so amazed with the quality of help. Everything I’ve heard so far gives me great ideas.

    The Freelands – Hmm. I might mess around with some of those names. Your country sounds awesome!

    Wokenland – Great idea! I’ll look into that.

    Princelandia – Both great ideas. I’ll add Barony to the list of names I’m considering and mess around with some of the old names to see if they give me some inspiration.

    Grayborn – Great suggestion, I’ll consider it. The one thing that doesn’t quite fit is, at least in “modern” times story-wise, Grayborns are almost universally known to be Unity’s assassins, since they are unaffected by magic, the greatest weapon in the world. So the idea of them being the ashy remains doesn’t quite fit the “modern” (post-stopwatch) context, even if it did fit the pre-stopwatch time.

    The Rebels – Disciples or the Apostles would be great alternatives. In an older version, One Master/the One was supposed to be the story’s analogy for God before I revised it, and though that’s no longer true, a lot of those lingering feelings have followed the rebellion into it’s current iteration.

    The Frozen Stopwatch – These. Are. Amazing. I’m so thrilled! The stopwatch has been the single most frustrating name I’ve worked with, and I love every suggestion you gave to pieces! Eek! I’m so excited!

    Unity – No, I haven’t read Discworld. Is it good?  I’ll throw Harmony on the name considerations (I do imaging lies/propaganda/deception to be a large part of Unity’s worldview, so having such a blatent lie for a name would work well). However, I’ve heard enough love for Unity I just might end up keeping it. 🙂

    One Master – Ooh, I like The Elder. I’ll put that along The One for consideration.

    The Blood Prince – Good suggestion. Maybe the rebel side will call him The Red Prince or The Red, but most people call him the blood prince. I’ve been torn with whether or not the good guys have an alternate name, since Blood Prince sounds kind of dark. Red magic is greatly respected, so Red Prince might be a good rebel alternative.

    Lana – All good suggestions. I’m liking Mara and Sloane right now. Appearance-wise, Lana has gray eyes, gray hair, and ashy/gray skin. Eye color is a huge determinant of magic affinity in this world, so her gray eyes are probably the biggest visual giveaway to her identity as a Grayborn.

    Prince Luc – I love that you caught all the layers!!! Okay, Luc’s a keeper. 🙂

    Noah –I like Noah too. I’ll stick Nole and Nolen on the list of possible alternatives if I don’t end up wanting a “generic” name.

    Courtney – Ooh! I like these. Especially since Yellow (power) magic and Green (elemental) magic are her two strongest forms. Amber magic sometimes takes the form of a flame, so the names would fit her power as well. I’ll stick them on my consideration list.

    Thank you so much! Once again, this was all very helpful. I also loved the deeper thoughts on why you were considering names (my general rule is to slap something down that sounds cool, and if I’m lucky the meaning will work too).

    Always remember you're unique...
    ...Just like everyone else

    #126405
    Katherine Baker
    @kb-writer

    @erynne

    There are definitely plenty of humor, but I wouldn’t call it a humorous story. The central theme deals with atonement for mistakes and the meaning of forgiveness, so humor is not a primary goal. I struggle to be serous though, so most of the ‘downtime’ the characters have, when not spent grappling on these themes, are used for funny character-building humor. Noah particularly lightens the mood a lot, but Lana has a dry wit that can pair well, and…

    I should stop rambling about my story, shouldn’t I? 😛

    Always remember you're unique...
    ...Just like everyone else

    #126410
    Erynne
    @erynne

    @kb-writer

    Ok, cool! It sounds like it would be a very interesting story! Also, I love how the magic is represented with colors 😉

    I should stop rambling about my story, shouldn’t I?

    No, of course not! I love hearing about everyone’s stories!! I feel like I’m the one who rambles about my story too much 😂

    #126411
    Skylarynn
    @skylarynn

    Thank you so much! Once again, this was all very helpful. I also loved the deeper thoughts on why you were considering names (my general rule is to slap something down that sounds cool, and if I’m lucky the meaning will work too).

    You’re welcome!  I try to take heavy consideration when it comes to names because it makes the world feel more lived in in my opinion.  And with character names it makes me seem really smart if the name hints something about their character arc or past or some other secret.  Examples: Ost Tarn sounds old and mysterious.  Literally, it means ‘eastern mountain lake’.  Appropriately, it is an eastern mountain lake that is old and mysterious.
    The country of Haven is so named because it is surrounded by dangers on literally all sides.  Deserts full of wandering man-eaters, wyvern infested mountains, marshes brimming with basilisks, forests of aggressive wild boars and tree-eating lizards…
    The Firepeaks are so named because they are made of stone high in iron and are therefore very, very red.  They are east of Haven (actually forming the outermost border of Easthaven) and therefore frame the sunrise, making them even redder and look like they’re on fire.
    Tome is the city of the University, so named because of the ancient library that remains there.
    Huldrevale is called such because it is a vale or valley where the huldrefolk live.  Simple.

    "Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. Hale

    #126433
    Ella
    @writergirl101

    @kb-writer

    I love the creativity of these names!!  I really like Lana, The Blood Prince, Unity, and The Master.  Unity is an awesome villain name, imo 😉

    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

    #126434
    Katherine Baker
    @kb-writer

    @rose-colored-fancy

    Thanks! That’s a great tip! I’ve already started doing that for some of the towns and villages in the story, but never thought to do it for the larger things.

    Always remember you're unique...
    ...Just like everyone else

    #126435
    Katherine Baker
    @kb-writer

    @writergirl101

    Aww, thank you! I’m glad you like them. It’s very affirming to hear that you like the names, since I can be paranoid that I didn’t put enough thought into some of these things.

    Always remember you're unique...
    ...Just like everyone else

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