Character of the Week: Fairy Names

I’m constantly re-thinking my advice on character naming. As I read more, and read more widely, I am confronted with naming “trends” that I wasn’t aware of before. And the more I see the same name used for similar characters, the more befuddled I become.

Female, looks late 20s
She is a secondary-main character, who needs a name that gets a nice balance between almost an angelic quality and mystery, and between purity and attractiveness. She’s a fairy, very typical-looking (i.e. tall-ish, slim, nice features), and has an aura of blue-ness (I have this awful tendency to associate qualities with colours). Being otherworldly, she’s been around a while and is gentle and wise, but of course keeps her looks.
She is from fairyland, another world that runs parallel to the real world in your typical olden-day fantasy setting. It’s best described as… purple.
A human boy named Quin (the MC) possibly thinks he loves her. She doesn’t really intend to lead him on though, being fairy and all. Quins actual love-interest is Evie Tanner (the fairy has no real interaction with her).
She fights evil monsters with other fairies while riding her unicorn!
Fantasy (for the young at heart, not quite for children though)

For this naming I believe I searched Yahoo! for fairy names, and read Wikipedia about fairies to find a list of unusual fairy names. I did not go for names of well-known fairies (so nothing used by Disney) or for anything that would be uber-cheesy like Faye.

  • Katania
  • Eolande: Means violet flower
  • Amaris: Means child of the moon
  • Averae
  • Linnea

This writer didn’t reply to me, so I don’t know if any of these names was chosen. I do like my choices, but I have some new concerns.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a fairy fantasy story, and I am beginning to worry that they have a lot of repetition of names. I worry that names are getting repeated because writers are looking for names with the same meanings (fairy, elf [the description here sounds like a Lord of the Rings elf to me], angel), just as I did.

I know I specifically looked for names that were very unusual, for fairies and in general, but I’m starting to wonder if unusual is going to cut it for long. (There will be more on this topic in Wednesday’s post.)

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2 thoughts on “Character of the Week: Fairy Names

  1. That’s what I think! Everytime I name anything in my fantasy world – characters, places, water, creatures, objects – I have that awful, terrible, lurking thought in the back of my head: “What if somebody else has already thought and used the same name before?” It creates awful anxiety. 😦

    • I don’t want to make you anxious (I don’t think anxiety ever helps), but the truth is that somebody else has ALWAYS already used that name before. The thing you should aim to avoid is using a rare name that that may have been used for the same TYPE of character before. Be widely inspired. Look for lesser used letters and sounds that feel right for your character (like soft consonants for the beginning of names and -ae or -i endings for a fairy character). Read Asian and Native American mythology and folklore (as opposed to just European traditions). Look for flower and color names from other languages. Let go of your worry, and open your mind to new avenues of inspiration. And, good luck!

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