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Does this sound like Fantasy to you?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by SaltyDog, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    Ok so recently, I had a person say to me that one of my characters names did not sound fantasy. So that got me to thinking, why? The character is an Orc, not the classic stereotype war Orc, but a rather sophisticated one. He also happens to be the leader of a powerful order of magic wielders. His position as that leader also makes him a general in my book, and like I said, he is extremely smart and capable.

    Right now as you read this your probably thinking just get to the name! Well I needed to give some info first, but anyway here's the name. O'donoghue. Irish huh? Well the person said that in fantasy, he wanted to see fantasy names, not names of our world. But I've read books where Jack and Matt are common names, and I know a few people with those names in real life.

    So the question I'm asking you all is does that name sound acceptable if you were the reader and encountered that character with that name? Or do you want as that person wanted, a new name, something not of this world?

    Anyway this whole thing is so I don't have to go back through the book and correct this guys name from basically page one. Lol just kidding.
    Anyway, thanks!
    Salty
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Of course it is fantasy, and I think the name is fine if you're going for humor or have an explanation.
     
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  3. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    If the character is interesting, the name rarely throws me off, especially if there is an interesting reason behind the name.

    That being said, for my own tastes, I do think the races should have their own naming conventions, if only for consistancy throughout the world.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  4. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    Ok, thanks guys. I'll take your advice into accord. Really, I'm actually quite found of the name, so this helps a lot.
     
  5. I've found that the divide between 'real' names and invented names doesn't strictly exist. Parents nowadays will just make names up for their kids, or use the names of characters like Anakin or Katniss...(Yes, people actually do this.)

    additionally, many of the names we take for granted as being 'real' names were actually invented by authors. Jessica, Wendy and Estella are examples.

    Our style of naming that has been dominant for the past few centuries is weird anyway. In real life i have a Biblical name, which meant something in its original language. We've borrowed most common names from other languages. In the original languages, the names were just words. Parents were literally naming their children 'Black' or 'Laughter' or whatever the names mean.

    Also, i've found that there are only so many nonsense combinations of letters that aren't already actual names. Many of my made-up names (I thought they were made up) turned out to be real, albeit obscure, names.

    Your friend said he wanted to see fantasy names, not names of our world--It's practically impossible to tell the difference, if there is a difference at all. You can pull obscure names from a baby name book and use them in a fantasy story and no one will be able to tell the difference. I do it all the time.

    O'donoghue does sound distinctly Irish. Maybe that would pull some people out of your fantasy world. But, since everything in your fantasy world originally was pulled from our world...I don't see the harm in an Irish sounding name.
     
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  6. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    Very true. I've played baseball with a kid who was named Helijah, which I guess is a variant of Elijah. And as with some of my names, or as one I googled, it actually appeared to be an elderly care center in Mexico. Who would of guessed right?

    And say an idea to make the name sound more fantasy would be to cut off part of the name, it then becomes O'donog, or Donog. Many names, both Fantasy and of our world cross all over, like you said, and I would think most people wouldn't care.

    I know I wouldn't as long as the story has my attention, and not where I'm so lost I'm picking at the names for entertainment.
    Thanks a bunch Dragon! I really appreciate your feed back!
    Salty
     
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  7. Peat

    Peat Sage

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    There is absolutely nothing on earth you can do that won't have a reader somewhere tutting ;)

    Excessively modern/culture-specific names are a relatively common peeve its true but peeve it is. So... up to you.
     
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  8. You're welcome. I would, however, caution against using a very Irish-sounding name for a character in a setting completely unlike Ireland, or anywhere vaguely similar, at least without keeping the naming style consistent with all the other orcs. I say this because i read a fantasy story once about sentient wolves living in Ice Age Canada, and all the clan-leader wolves had Irish clan names, or something. MacDuncan and i forget the others. Anyway, it felt extremely out of place for sentient wolves in the Ice Age. Especially since all the other wolves had completely made-up names.

    So, make sure it fits somewhat. I'm not saying your story has to be set in an alternate Ireland, but if there was a Dark Lord's Evil Minions-type orc named O'Donoghue surrounded by orcs named things sounding like Thalghur and Glulzhnak, it would seem really...off. (I know your orc isn't that kind, just an example.)
     
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  9. Truth. I wish more writers realized this. It would release a huge load of stress.
     
  10. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    Thanks Peat, I guess it is up to me.

    Yeah so most of my characters, and the setting, are far from anything closely related to Irish, I mean O'donoghue is the only thing at the moment. However, the Orcs as a race, are really undefined. I have them on the opposite side of a war, and O'donoghue is on the other side, against his race. But O'donoghue is the only Orc who I have touched up on and actually named, which then leaves the gate open for all my Orcs to have Irish sounding names. (Imagine, Irish Orcs!)

    I do have another race, giant almost lizard men, that have really guttural and brutish names, but the entire race has that same theme going, as with all the cities and towns and the country itself.

    So I now have the opportunity to play around with O'dnonghue's name, or have a race of Irish Orcs. Hard choice huh?

    Thanks again
     
  11. Peat

    Peat Sage

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    Ransacking Irish culture for names is a popular pastime for fantasy authors, I don't see why you should be any different :p

    Maybe just drop the O. Donoghue is still fairly Irish but the O'Whatever surname style is *very* Irish. Very modern Irish too.
     
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  12. You could have all the orcs have very different-sounding names from each other to show them as a various, mismatched race.
     
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  13. Just calling him Donoghue wouldn't draw as much as an Irish vibe.
     
  14. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Not terribly modern, I think. Pretty sure it's been around as long as "Mac" or "Mc" denoting "son of", and that's been a part of Gaelic since the language first came about.
     
  15. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    Lol I think I might take it up Peat.:D And dropping the O is something I might do.

    And having one Orc with an Irish name, then another with a Brazilian name might work, like us humans now in real life, we are extremely diverse, and I don't see why it can't work with the Orcs as well.

    Good points guys
     
  16. Peat

    Peat Sage

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    The transition from Ua to O is, or at least so I think, a relatively modern Anglicisation. Just like Donoghue rather than Donnchadha. Could be wrong though, I'm not an expert on this.
     
  17. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    I'm certainly not. Lol that's why I'm here though
     
  18. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    Regarding the name:

    I can think of more than a few instances where immigrants changed their names to better fit in with their adopted society. And quite a few instances where some company clerk or petty official changed it for them rather than deal with a name that had far too many syllables.
     
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  19. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    So are you saying I could change his name within the story? Thinking about that, I could, he comes from the other side off the war, to fit in, he changes his name. Or maybe he has a dark secret and needs to be unnoticed and unrecognized. So thanks, a valid point.
     
  20. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Yep.

    If Ned, Jon, Gregor, Bran, Ramsey, Robb, Caitlyn, Jaimie, and Robert can be used in Game of Thones. I think most won't blink at your name as long as it fits your story.

    I wonder what they expect a fantasy name to be? Those annoying unpronounceable names with ten apostrophes and no vowels?
     
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