When Name Nerds are also Fiction Nerds

Hiya! :wave: [name_m]How[/name_m] big of a role does naming play in your writing? TBH naming my characters is honestly one of my favorite parts of the process. Names just evoke so much to me, that I love matching them with characters. Sometimes I fall in love with a name and I’ll wait until I have the right kind of story to build a character around that name. Or, if I already have a character idea, I get so excited and put so much thought into naming. I love the moment when it just clicks and I find a name and go “oh, that’s the one” and usually it gives me a more clear idea of the character, and even of their family (since usually parents are the ones naming them). Of course, I’m also more into character driven stories, so I think names are extra important to me because I love my characters so much.

Are you fellow name nerds/writers like that? What does the intersection of your passion for writing and names look like?

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I am definitely always concerned about the naming process! When I imagine characters, I tend to build personalities around my concept of a name. The connotations it has for me will heavily influence the character. Then I imagine vastly different characters that would compliment their name. I get really caught up in it!

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I am a name nerd and fiction nerd!!!

Yes, names are very important in some stories. A lot of my stories are character-centered.

YES

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The [name_m]Venn[/name_m] diagram of my passion for names and my passion for writing is basically a circle! If it weren’t for writing, I’m not sure I would even be on this site today.

When I was 10, I read a book about a girl who wanted to be a writer, and she had a baby name book to help her name her characters. I wanted to be an author too so I thought the baby name book was a brilliant idea! I received one for [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] when I was in 5th grade and, let me tell you, that thing was well-loved. Unfortunately, I got rid of the book when my family moved from Kansas City to [name_f]Florida[/name_f] this past summer because I just don’t think it would’ve survived the cross country move! And I also exclusively use the Internet for my naming endeavors, and I have for a few years because the book was practically unusable. The covers had fallen off long ago, it was missing the first and last few pages as well, it was dog-eared, written in with lists of my old favorite baby names and some old character names. Really well-loved.

Like @the_common_fool, I derive my character’s personality after I name them, partly through dialogue and interaction with other characters, but also from my view of the name. And like all of you, I get really attached to my characters!

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Yes!!
Naming is such a big part when I write stories. If I wasn’t writing, like others here, I wouldn’t be here today. Naming characters is one of my favourite parts. I have tons of favourite names - if you read some of my threads you’ll see which ones I use a lot lol. And I totally agree with @AerieEerie when the names just clicks like “Oh, yess!”
Choosing the right name for the right character is very important to me.

I like choosing names that fit with my characters alot- but I try to delete stereotypes about certain names, like usually when some people hear the name [name_f]Jessica[/name_f] they think “Oh! Popular mean girl!” and most Jessicas aren’t popular or mean. I hate that some sterotypes just ‘finalize’ certain names for people. I know a Jessica and she’s really nice. Sterotypes are horrible. Usually.
And yes, I’m a total name nerd lol and writing nerd (more lol)
And I’m a fiction nerd
Well, bye! :wave:

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same here!

I usually just go all out naming characters and forget the writing part oops

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Oh lol same here

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DEFINITELY! Naming characters is so hard, yet so fun, and when you find the perfect name, so rewarding!

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I used to be in a writing group where most people dreaded naming and I would always volunteer to help haha. I’m glad nameberry lets me meet other writers who love the naming process like I do :slightly_smiling_face: I have so many more writing+naming things I’m curious for opinions on, but I should probably make separate posts for those.

Staying on topic though, it’s also fun to figure out the general vibe of the names in a story. Obviously they’re not always cohesive because characters don’t all have the same parents or background, but I feel like when I start a new story I decide how “out there” I’ll let my overall naming decisions be for that one. And of course, fictional sibsets are fun. Recently read a play (“A Breakfast of Eels”) where the two brothers had very different names and I heard one reviewer interpret this as one of the first clues that the characters aren’t actually brothers. I thought that was a neat detail.

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oh, me too @nescio. I’ll create a character concept to go with a name and never come up with a plot, or sometimes not for years later :laughing:

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I can’t imagine that! I really love names and if you don’t have a character’s name, you can’t really feel a strong connection to them (in my personal opinion)

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It varies so much with me- I love naming my characters but the way I do so is different every time.
With my really important, central main character, I’ll usually have a very vague idea of personality and have to spend time thinking about a name, and then a totally random one I hadn’t even considered comes to me and it’s perfect but I still agonize over the decision. With side characters, I hardly even think about their names because with them, for some reason, I actually do know what their personality will be like and their name will just instantly come to me, and it’s usually names that I don’t even really like. I hate reading books where all the characters have just really outlandish names, and in my writing the names for side characters are usually pretty common like [name_f]Nicole[/name_f], [name_f]Melissa[/name_f], and [name_m]Mark[/name_m], but the main character names are sometimes names that aren’t even on the register. Of course, sometimes I just like deciding on a bunch of names and personalities and appearances to go along with them and then don’t even write the story; the character development was the fun part :joy:

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I love the naming; in school I had a notebook with hundreds of names written in it to help myself and my classmates name characters. I also like the opportunity to play with names that might not be right for a person in your family, but you want someone to have. It’s also a great exercise in thinking about plausible but unique names, the naming conventions of communities, et cetera.

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Same. I also have a notebook full of names!

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Its exactly like that if the name is wrong the character is not right, ive spent weeks searching for the right character name before. I agree wholly about loving characters. [name_f]My[/name_f] protagonist is so much like me (flaws and all (and I have a LOT)) I had to get the perfect name. I just had too.

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I’m not really a writer but I am an avid reader. Sometimes I feel more drawn to check out books if the characters have interesting names. I recently read the book [name_f]Aurelia[/name_f] by [name_u]Anne[/name_u] Osterlund. I love the name [name_f]Aurelia[/name_f], so it made me more inclined to read the book.

But sometimes if the names are really culturally/historically inaccurate, it can turn me off the book since it shows a lack of research on the part of the author. E.g. modern names like [name_u]Jayden[/name_u] popping up in stories that are supposed to be set in historical [name_f]Ireland[/name_f]. As a name nerd, it’s just annoying!

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Oh my gosh I do this ALL THE TIME. I never finish my stories, and I like writing them and making plots and all, like I’m not entirely focused on naming, but it’s the part of the process that sucks up the most of my energy, I loooove naming maybe a little too much… :grimacing:

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Yes!

I’m at the stage right now where I have two incredibly vague ideas, basically only a setting for each and some characters. In one I have a very clear image of the girl and the personality. In the other I have one name and a second I go back and forth on. And I’m like well if I commit to using one of these names I like for any of these people then I HAVE to figure out a plot and write at least a little for them. Seems a shame to use up a name and then not really use it, you know?

Although I too am guilty of never finishing stories :sweat_smile: One day! One day I will!

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One day!
[name_f]My[/name_f] goal is to finish a story that’s at least 100 pages.
So far = 45 pages. I’m getting there… hopefully

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