Struggling with Names

You know, BabyNames used to be one of my favorite websites. It had such a nice layout, and you could just browse names for hours, looking for just the right one. They format they used to have put the meaning of the name right next to it, and the entire website was easy to navigate.

How the mighty have fallen. Now it’s add-filled drivel, with an incomprehensible design, and a navigation system that would not only have sunk the Titanic, but the iceberg probably would have gone down too.

I’m working on names right now—because while I’ve got a good feel for three or four of the characters I’m going to be using in artifice, and while they are the most important characters, I have a few secondary ones that need development as well. But before I can start developing them, they need names.

I take the naming of my characters very seriously. In may old mythologies, it is said that someone’s name defines their nature, and while I don’t completely give that full credence, I think there is some truth to it. Sometimes names just flip of my mind, and they’re appropriate—I didn’t struggle at all with Terri, and Sera was easy too. Rebecca was a little harder, but still not hard. Most of the time, though, I have to bite and scrape to find the right name for a person. Many other writers experience this too. They say that it isn’t like naming a character, it’s like trying to discover the name they’ve always had. It sounds vaguely mystical, but there is something mystical about creating a whole person in your imagination, so I’ll believe them.

I’m struggling right now, though, with two characters in particular. One is a lecherous mechanic (a boy). The other is a very young but very professional female software designer, native to Japan. The fact that one name fairly needs to be Japanese is difficult, and while the other doesn’t need a specific ethnicity, his name is proving no easier to find.

I want to take care with this: it’s important.

If anyone has any suggestions, I’m open to them. And furthermore, if anyone has any good name databases that aren’t BabyNames, I would love to have the links.

Thanks, ya’ll.

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1 Comment

  1. Cameron said,

    August 8, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Hmm… a lecherous mechanic, eh? I have no idea why, but Ari pops into my mind, but perhaps something cliche like Angus or Archie would also work. As for the girl… I’m not so familiar with Japanese names, But if I think of something I’ll let you know

    Well, that’s very interesting. I don’t think Ari is going to work (sounds like a girl’s name to me, probably because I’ve been looking at Japanese names lately). However, it lead me on a stream of thought that ended me at Ark. I really like that one—I think I’m going to use it. Very well, ‘Ark’ he is. Thanks, Cam.
    ~DK


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