Character Creation: Naming Patterns

Posted on July 20th, 2006 @ 17:29
Filed Under Characters, Writing | 3 Comments

We’re in summer, and I’ve started thinking again of potential story plots for the upcoming NaNoWriMo – since I’m going back to college, in a big city, and to study English on top of it, I’d like to do it again this year and lure some other students into the craze. We have nice places in the university areas to do collective writing sessions, really.

Well. Going back to NaNo means haunting the forums as well, and there I found myself posting a blurb about character names…

Does any of you have any noticeable naming patterns? Not in one novel only, but across your novels in general? And, pushing further, would such a pattern apply to other areas than novels/short stories ones (in roleplaying games, for instance)?

The one that seems to be recurrent in my case is of short names – one or two syllables, seldom three, never four or more (unless the character appears a couple times only, or the name can be shortened and its longer version never used). Wall of Silence? Let me introduce you to Ren, Kittin (Kit), Ari, Kheril, Ido, Ian, Shinta and a swarm of short names (yes, Iswann and Eoghann are short-sounding names too!); longer ones are for characters that appear less often (Ta’Naquil and her brothers, Ka’Ellan…), even though appearing less often doesn’t mean being unimportant. NaNo 2005? Enter Jen, Miki, Heiji and Eric, with a couple Tarah, Corey, and a handful of nicknames just as short. Older stories? Meet Lou, Aidan, Tiph, Damon, Lyle, Tanis, Prinn, Thea. These are the most evident examples that come to mind, but I can assure you that they’re not the only ones.

Is it because I like short names? Probably. A taste for simple things? Maybe. A general consensus that my characters are “low-born” people (no kings, princes, noblefolk), and as such wouldn’t be given complex, flowery names by her parents? Likely as well. A laziness to type long ones? I don’t think so, although knowing myself, I wouldn’t completely rule this out (who knows what other crazy things my Id can push me to do). As a sidenote, I also seem to favor the A and K letters regularly enough to make me blink in realization (RPG characters I create often have such names – Kerydwenn, Ashara, Anrad, and many more).

So, do we authors all have patterns when it comes to chosing the names of our characters? Or is it rather an exception?

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Comments

3 Responses to “Character Creation: Naming Patterns”

  1. Fredcq on July 20th, 2006 7:25 pm

    I tend to use short names that are easy to remember. I hate reading fantasy books that have characters with long names. It’s very distracting.

  2. Benjamin Solah on July 26th, 2006 3:42 am

    Now that I think of it, I use shorter names too, usually in the three or two syllable range.

  3. Jennifer on August 7th, 2006 12:31 pm

    I seem to always name characters with the letter ‘A’. Not sure why, but there are certain letters I always seem to start names with. The most popular being ‘A’.

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