What’s In A Name?

who-are-youYou’ve worked a character to perfection. What he wants, what his strengths and vulnerabilities are, his secrets, even his blue eyes and broad sloping nose. He is honorable and brave. A hero living in medieval times and his name is…. Larry.

Ok, this could work. After all, Fred and Wilma lived in prehistoric times. This was a cartoon and was meant to be funny. If you’re going for a great adventure story with action and romance then perhaps a bit more research is necessary, but how do you start looking? Well, I’ll give you a hand. To make this clear to everyone we will create a name here and now.

Find names from the era of the story. Medieval… Ok. I Googled, “Medieval names” and picked a site called, http://medieval.stormthecastle.com/medieval-names.htm. This shows a list of male and female names that were popular in this era. I like many but for now I’ll go with Cedric.

Research the root of a name to help match it to the personality of the character. My character is a good man and will at some point become king. I researched the meaning of Cedric and discover it means “kind” or “loved. Hmmm…. Not bad for a king. It’s of Saxon or German origin and ties well into my story. Further research uncovers the name “Cedrych”, meaning “Bounty”. This sounds good too. We can play with the spelling later to get it just right.

Need a last name now? What type of work does this character do? Our good Cedrych was the son of a farmer known for growing hay. English, Hay or French, Heah meaning “tall” or “high” then there’s Haye meaning “hedge” but this has a more Spanish origin.

Also, I like the standby way of choosing names. The Latin translator. I tried many characteristics of hay and found that ‘Golden” is “Aureous” . Now I am thinking that our hero Cedrych comes from the town of Aureous which was named after his great-great-grandfather, Jaren Aureous.

Say it out loud. How does it sound? Does it roll smoothly? We can add a” vin” or “wyn” meaning friend. I’ll shorten the last name and get, Aureowyn. Play with the letters till you feel good about the sound and flow. I worked out…… Cedrick Areowyn. “A golden bounty of kindness.” Hey, it is a fictional fantasy character.

Your targeted audience will recognize the “feel” of the name from being familiar with names and meanings of the era. If the name flows well, those unfamiliar will like the sound of it and play along.

On a side note, I’d like to tell you a bit about my Avatar name here at Thoughts Inc. In the early 1980’s I found a nerdy little game called “Dungeons and Dragons.” Then, it was played on table tops with paper and dice and imagination. I developed the name” Forgewright” from a character I had made named “Nathaniel Forge” He was a blacksmithing dwarf that made weapons.

I have used Forgewright as character names in many online games since the beginning of online games. Now if you look up Forgewright online it belongs to World of Warcraft for a long dead dwarven blacksmith that can still be visited if you are dead. His legendary weapons are also discoverable to use.

Is there a connection? Conspiracy theorists like to think so….. Well, I do anyway.

Thanks for reading,

The one, The only, Forgewright.

About The Author

Robert Hatfield hails from mid-western Ohio. Comedy and Adventure stories are his passion. Editing and Reviewing are the fields of work he enjoys. Writing has been an interest for the past 25 years and he now has the time to pursue it. As a Moderator on Thoughtsinc.net, he welcomes any questions or requests for help.

This article is for use by Thoughtsinc.net

4 replies
  1. tlhopkinson
    tlhopkinson says:

    Great article… I love playing with character names… specifically in my Cherimoya story, each character’s name is loaded with signification and even the child who is born whose name was changed to Cherimoya originally was going to be called something else with a specific meaning… at any rate, cool stuff. They important note here is that not only while you are writing, but definitely while you are reading, to recognize that authors do this stuff on purpose… watch for it, makes life more interesting :).

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