Shannon Bolithoe : A Writing Life

The Speculative Fiction Writer’s Dilemma: Inventing Sci-Fi and Fantasy Names

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http://sdmcphail.com/2015/10/26/the-speculative-fiction-writers-dilemma-inventing-sci-fi-and-fantasy-names/

By S.D. McPhail

“Writers of fiction have a difficult job. We must invent an entertaining story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. As if that isn’t enough, we must populate that story with interesting characters. To top it off, all those characters must be named. You can’t simply call the characters in a novel Hero, Love Interest, Sidekick, Comic, Villain, Distraction, Redshirt 1, Redshirt 2, Antagonist, Sage, or any other generic archetypal label, even if that’s what they are. Imagine how boring—how unimaginative—a story would be using only labels and not names…”

S.D. McPhail

Writers of fiction have a difficult job. We must invent an entertaining story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. As if that isn’t enough, we must populate that story with interesting characters. To top it off, all those characters must be named. You can’t simply call the characters in a novel Hero, Love Interest, Sidekick, Comic, Villain, Distraction, Redshirt 1, Redshirt 2, Antagonist, Sage, or any other generic archetypal label, even if that’s what they are. Imagine how boring—how unimaginative—a story would be using only labels and not names.

fantasyCitySmallNow, for writers whose stories take place in the real world, whether contemporary or historical, names are pretty easy. Finding just the right moniker for each character in your story may require a little research, but there are online sources to look up common names from most any era or language. Find some that you like, then…

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Author: SBolithoe

Librarian, author, blogger, presenter, history buff and animal lover.

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