What’s in a Name?

I was recently asked about the etymology behind my characters’ names and it got me thinking… that’s a great topic for a blog post.

Gwendolen Queen of Boreal

Gwendolen Queen of Boreal

I named my newest doll, Gwendolen. Before she was named Gwendolen, I called her Freezia—which, now seems completely unoriginal. Back when I first imagined my Ice Queen I made up the name Freezia, because it sounded like a cool play on the word Freeze and Freesia (the flower). Well, once I got the doll and went public with her I realized that Freezia no longer fit the flow of my other dolls, or Shilon characters, so I went to the internet for inspiration.

 

And that’s where I nearly always start. The internet. Or sometimes baby name books.

When I’m trying to come up with a name for a character I usually search names that mean something that represents the character I’m writing. Gwendolen for example means “white ring.” I felt this was perfect for my Ice Queen, as it has a much broader meaning than frozen flower. Plus the name sounded better than Freezia.

 

I also research other languages. For Gwendolen, I was searching for the word “ice” in other languages. I also searched for “winter,” “snow,” and, “cold.” Luckily I didn’t really search that long in these categories as the baby name search proved better results.

 

Amniese-BJD-metacynth.com

Amniese The Forgotten One

When it comes to Shilon, which is where most of my current characters live, I try to find words that are Latin based, or from old, unused languages. Amniese, for example was made up from the word amnesia, since her name means “forgotten one,” in Shilon’s Ancient Language. Using her name as the theme, I’ve tried to find other names that have old world feel. I constantly look at Latin, Greek, Norse, or older versions/spellings of common names.

 

Llyr Dikadoll MuRong BJD |metacynth.com

Llyr Keeper of Secrets

Llyr, was named after King Leer from The Last Unicorn, only I didn’t like that spelling (Leer), I felt it was too sinister. When I was researching his name I found the spelling Llyr, and felt it fit the Shilon world better. It’s a Celtic name for a mythical king and according to some sites it also means “from the sea” in Welsh. I felt this fit because Llyr has a relation to a water deity.

 

I also look to mythology for inspiration. Lysiana is named after a Greek water nymph. It is very fitting for her Mermaid heritage.

Shilon isn’t based off Earth. Our nations and traditions are not the same. There may be some shared similarities, but those aren’t meant to be taken for what we believe. Lysiana wears silk robes and comes from a very Eastern upbringing, but this doesn’t make her Asian. She is a Nereid with her own separate traditions and culture.

 

Lysiana and Echaehn BJDs | metacynth.com

Lysiana and Echaehn

Echaehn is another made up name like Amniese. It was originally an Irish name, Eachann, which means “horse-lover” or “little horse” (depending on where you look online), but I kept misspelling it. I eventually arrived at the current, more unique spelling.

 

In the end I try to find words and names that represent the characters’ traits, personalities, or pasts. I try to think what a parent in their Clan might name their child and use that as well. I also keep in mind the sound of a name.

 

Artunnus iplhouse BJD| metacynth.com

Artunnus the Guardian

 

Artunnus, for example, is a name I made up because it sounded really nice. I love the peaceful feel of it  and the way it rolls off the tongue. I may have also been inspired by C.S. Lewis’ Tuminus when I made up Artunnus’ name.

 

There are some names for minor characters that I’m not completely attached to. I’ve found myself switching some names around, and saving others for later.

I always have a list of interesting names on hold if I ever need inspiration.

 

Until Next Time

Leave a Reply