Made-Up names

I saw a thread on here not long ago that was about made-up names but it turned into sort of an argument. I’m restarting it as more of a general discussion rather than rant.

I can appreciate made up names. I know that’s very un-berry of me, but there are some neat ones out there. I’ve made up names for my books. The one getting published has two a few made up names.

In my novel, I have Etrean (G – eh-tree-an), Elenwen (G), Lorok (B – lo-rock), Yerath (B – yeh-rath), [name_m]Tinan[/name_m] (B), Erest (U – eh-rest)

I think they’re pretty good. I followed phonetics and with Elenwen, since it’s meant to look Welsh, I followed the wen/wyn ending rules. I think made up names can work fine when you follow proper naming rules. Like someone said on the other thread, I could make my own meanings for them if I wanted.

Elenwen – Girl – Based on the two pieces of the name, could mean “white, shining one” or “fair, shining one”

So, not only thoughts on my own made up names, but I’d love to hear yours too and just general opinions.

I kind of separate made-up names into two categories: cheerleader names and general made up names.

The former category is (usually) the names i find ridiculous…things like McKaybree or Jaxzvon. Most of the names in this category are “kree8ively” spelled or heavily involve the letters k, y, x, and z. Its called the cheerleader category because the people i know who name their kids these names are either former cheerleaders or have no greater aspirations for their children beyond wanting the girls to be cheerleaders and the boys to be football stars.

The other category of more general made-up names is very small and usually consists of people trying to smoosh names to honor multiple people. Names like Emmeliese fit in here (honoring an [name_f]Emily[/name_f] and [name_f]Anneliese[/name_f], i assume). I don’t find these names horrible, nor do i particularly love them.

I don’t think inventing names is the worst thing ever but in general i think most people are poor name inventors. Writers seem to be better at it ([name_m]Shakespeare[/name_m] and [name_u]Neil[/name_u] Gaiman come to mind). Mostly i just think there are millions of names already out there, so i don’t understand the need to create a new one for myself. If other people want to, its fine, but i do sometimes wonder whether they’re that type of parent who thought their kid was too unique/special for a normal name.

great topic!

i think made-up names are a controversial topic since all names were made up at some point. sometimes “random” respellings of accepted names make these sound made-up too, although i think there’s a big difference between random respellings and conscious name inventions.

since you’re mentioning names from your novel, i think they’re all great. Tolkien, obviously, made up all his names and yet they seem totally legit for some people to use it. i think sometimes people don’t consider made-up names until someone shows them they’re actually usable.

another point to consider, i am of European heritage, and if i wanted to use any family names at all i would have to adjust the spelling. does that turn these names into made-up names?

I agree about the weird spelling names. They aren’t what I’m referring to. Those are just…weirdly spelled. Alykzandreh, no matter how terrible it looks, is still [name_f]Alexandra[/name_f]. VC, I don’t think changing a spelling constitutes made up names, nor do I always find changing a spelling to be awful either. The above spelling is terrible, but taking [name_f]Amelia[/name_f] and spelling it [name_f]Emilia[/name_f] isn’t an issue.

I wouldn’t use my made up names on a baby, but maybe one day someone else will go “[name_m]Man[/name_m], Elenwen is very pretty.” Or “I’d love to have a little Etrean.”

Also, for my new writing project, I made Lettlyn (which is trendy, “cheerleader” type and that’s what I needed for him) and Sindalain, which I think is great. I used Anese in another book, which I’m pronouncing ah-ness so I need to tweak the spelling there.

what about “word names”? are those made-up names since they are not “technically” names unless they’ve been used by at least one person?

I suppose you could count them as “made-up” if it’s never been used on a person, but I don’t. I think of made up names as literally taking sounds and combining them into a previously unheard of name or word.

I tend to prefer names that have a history to them and usually cringe when I hear that someone made-up their kids names because it usually ends up being something like McKaidyn or Baxlynne, someone just taking popular “sounds” like Mck, Aid, Yn, [name_u]Leigh[/name_u] and combining them to make something “cool”. But then again all names were really made-up very long ago and I think their is a classy way to do it, taking names or pieces of names with actual etymologies (like -wen) and combining them so they sound like it might actually be a true name, either English or from some other culture. For instance, I met a little Elenabelle a while ago. [name_m]Even[/name_m] though it’s not my style (too many “E’s”) it sounded like it might actually be a real name and it does sound kind of pretty. It could also have a meaning (beautiful, bright, shining one). Plus they called her “[name_f]Lainey[/name_f]-[name_f]Belle[/name_f]” which I think is pretty cute.

I agree with ameliawilliams. There’s made-up like Airwrecka and there’s smoosh names. A daughter of good family friends of mine is named Beth1y and it’s a smoosh/made up name. But I don’t find it offensive or weird. It works.

I don’t find names like that to be a problem. Creative spellings make me crazy though.

I like made up names in books. Yours are great dantea. Maybe someday people will be discussing your character names on a NB type forum, and gushing about their love for the character the way we gush over [name_f]Eowyn[/name_f] and Eilonwy. :slight_smile: I think made up names (on real people) work if they’re from literature. I’d use those in a heartbeat but I’m not a fan of pulling sounds together for a real child. Most/many of my middle name options are “made up” names from books. Maybe it’s just as bad as pulling them out of the air, and its just my way of rationalizing my kooky naming decisions, but I feel they have some substance, more weight when they’re from a book that’s been read so many times its been tattered and replaced more than once.

i would consider using a made-up name if it was a name made up WELL. criteria? linguistic accuracy is a must for me. creative respellings of existing names must have a purpose (e.g., make it easier to pronounce a foreign name).

i would consider making up my own names e.g. by using words from another language. but again, it would have to be grammatically correct - there’s nothing worse than having a name that’s just plain wrong in its original language!

i am not a fan of names made up purely for sound. i mean, good results can come from that, certainly, but i do like my baby names to have some sort of meaning, or relevance that goes beyond the mere sound of the name.

My hubs just came up with “Zaxton” as an example of too modern of a name…I laughed and laughed!