Character of the Week: YA Fantasy Names

This one pissed me off.

I actually don’t have names yet for ANY of my characters. I’ll most likely come up with them on my own later but I would love to see what you suggest.

1). Male, 17 years old, mysterious and tough, he and his family are all witches from somewhere in the countryside (USA). He has dark red hair and his first memorable act involves demonstrating his (unknown to the MC) magically enhanced upper body strength. Does parkour.

2). Female, main character. 17 years old, lonely and rebellious. Possessed by an evil spirit that sometimes takes control of her body. Best friend and eventual love interest of character 1. Dyed her bangs white and has a tendency to seriously injure most of the people around her. Lives in a medium sized city.

3). Male, 18 years old. Serious and bitter. Has a personal vendetta against character 1, and used to be friends with character 2. His place of origin is unknown, but is most likely the same as either character 1 or 2.

4). Male, unknown age but appears in his mid-to-late teens. He originated in someone else’s mind but was later given life of his own, so he has no limits. Young and somewhat feminine.

These characters were very interesting to name. I was fascinated by what I knew of them. This is partly why what happened hurt so badly.

Since they were described as being from the USA with no modifiers (e.g. Dystopian), I assumed these characters were living now or in the near future. I chose real names in use today, but with a focus on the unusual given the fantasy nature of the characters.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but I want to make it clear that I think my choices were awesome.

  • Morris
  • Maverick
  • Mikal
  • Sterling
  • Roman
  • Fallon
  • Reina
  • Mattie
  • Zana
  • Ruby
  • Nikko
  • Darrick
  • Eliezer
  • Ryne
  • Efren
  • Mikey
  • Shay
  • Ryder
  • Alek
  • Harley

The writer replied: I finally decided on names for my characters, but I ended up not using any of the ones you suggested. The names I chose are Lucas, Audrey, Sam, and Veloci. Though now that I think again Harley really would have suited him, but I’m still going to stick with Veloci.

I wish the writer just hadn’t replied to me, because it was like a slap in the face that not only were none of my names chosen but that this writer didn’t even seem to have considered my names until after a choice was made. And what choices, indeed.

Common (especially as a character name in fantasy and as a love interest), common, common (I’ve seen so many characters with this name), and ultra-rare (best known as the prefix to velociraptor).

I did find that when writers didn’t use the names I offered, that they generally chose much more popular names—popular in both life and literature. I usually wasn’t insulted by this because I understand that people feel more comfortable with names that are more common; however, in this case I was hurt that my names were so roundly ignored and that I didn’t listen to the tacit warning in the writer’s preamble, that: My names wouldn’t be chosen! I spent a lot of time working on these characters names, and I was left feeling that all of my work was just a joke to this writer.

I wish that I had skipped this naming in favor of one for a writer who would have appreciated the time I spent on his or her characters.

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One thought on “Character of the Week: YA Fantasy Names

  1. Interesting…I rather like the list of names you’ve created here. It’s funny, because I used to think it was so incredibly difficult to come up with names for my characters; and then I began to realize that there’s always something that just ends up hitting me. In fantasy it’s especially interesting, because often the name really isn’t a ‘name’ as such, but rather a sound – something that just fits that person. You know it’s right, because you suddenly can’t imagine that person being called anything else.

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