Character of the Week: Alien Names

This one may have been a failure on my part.

The Writer Describes the Character(s)

I need names for my 2 main characters.

1) Female Heroine—27 year old laid-off copywriter/freelance writer in NYC. Creative, well-liked, and a bit scatterbrained. Was raised in a small, all-American town in the Midwest thinking that her father died when she was young, but then she found out in college that he had abandoned them. Very thoughtful, resourceful, kind, and well read.

2) Male Alien—Navigator/patroller for extra-planetary activity for yet named planet. He is practical, introverted, hard-working, and focused. He is strong for his size, loyal, well-travelled, and can morph into other shapes in order to pose as other creatures. He is also stubborn, secretive, and neglects himself for work at times. He was raised during warring on his planet for resources and grew up learning defensive arts and fighting techniques. Now he uses his skills to maintain peace in the planetary alliance. None of his relationships with females have ever panned out.

I am a bit nervous about the naming of the alien as it will affect the style of names I choose to name any alien from that planet imo.

For the human I used names that were popular in a Midwestern state when this character would have been born. I think the choices were interesting, but they may not have been this writer’s taste (since I don’t know any names this writer has chosen for characters, it’s impossible to gage taste).

For the alien I was long stumped. I believe I named other characters whose requests came in later just to postpone making a decision. The writer here is correct: The name for the alien will create a naming style to be used for all aliens on his planet or in his culture. It was hard for me to create names for this character (which I already know I’m not good at), in part because every name I made up I then searched for on Yahoo! and discovered that it already existed!

My Reply to the Writer

I’m surprised by the names I’ve chosen. To me they sound “not New York”, and “not girly”. I guess I saw her as a former Daddy’s girl, maybe even named after him.

  • Casey
  • Shawna
  • Renee
  • Sheena
  • Amanda

Alien names are difficult. These are, of course, a suggestion. I’ve begun a starting double consonant naming convention, with masculine consonant endings. I’ve avoided the “cool” letters of K V X and Z, to avoid sounding like other alien or villain names.

  • Hhrot
  • Ccotlo
  • Ggadr
  • Nnrito
  • Ppohtel

The writer never replied to me, so I’m pretty sure I missed the mark on this naming. It isn’t entirely surprising, given I didn’t know what type of names the writer preferred. The major issue with this naming is the difficulty of naming an alien species, especially when you don’t know much about that species and their culture. I did my best by coming up with a convention here, but while that convention would “work” for an alien species it probably didn’t fit what this writer had in mind. (I should also add that if I knew this writer was going to have these characters in a relationship, which isn’t clear in the description, then I would have strived to give the alien a sexier name.)

I’m going to ponder alien names some more and riff on that this Wednesday.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s