Naming / Numbering -- Help???

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craig
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Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by craig » July 29th, 2010, 4:27 pm

While I LOVE to write and I always have tons of stories in my head, I seriously lack in creativity for names of places, characters, groups of people, etc...

(In my current WIP, I've changed character names many times and I still plan to do some more complete changes.)

Here's the predicament I've created for myself...

My WIP is a sci-fi novel set in a colony on Mars (which is plainly known as Mars Colony -- see how original I am???). The colony is a collection of domes. (Think of the huge dome that covered Springfield in the Simpson's Movie.) There's one central dome called, well, Central Dome. There's a transportation dome connected to a space elevator and orbital platform called, respectively, the Landing Dome and Landing Pad. (This is stretching my naming creativity.)

The majority of the population live in four domes called Alpha Dome, Beta Dome, Gamma Dome, and Delta Dome. There are no real class systems in this novel, however, Alpha Dome is considerably higher-class and Delta considerably lower-class, with the other two fitting in between.

So that's all good.

This novel involves some medical experimentation. The first group of test subjects are collectively called the Alphas. The second group is collectively called the Betas.

It was only yesterday that I realised that two domes share names with the two groups of people.

It took me so long to realise it because they've always been completely distinct, so whenever I mention Alpha, the reader knows beyond a doubt whether I mean the dome or the people. Same with Beta.

I'm thinking I should be changing one of them. I think it makes more sense to change the names of the test subjects -- as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta are appropriate for domes that have an implied (but not hard-set) class system.

Or would it make more sense to refer to the test subjects as Alphas and Betas?

Any suggestions for which I should change? And then, what to change it to?

Theoretically, I could change the dome names and name them after historical astronauts who first set foot on Mars, but then that involves explaining history (very briefly at least) -- and then the class levels would not be easy to remember or immediately associated with the words. (While some readers may not know the order of Alpha, Beta, etc... most at least know Alpha is first and would imply that's the high-class dome.)

But if I change the test subject names, I don't know if another numbering/ranking system is appropriate or if it's a little lamesauce.

Any suggestions???

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dios4vida
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Re: Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by dios4vida » July 29th, 2010, 4:43 pm

My humble opinion:

I'd keep the dome names and change the names of the test subjects. From your brief description it didn't seem like there was a caste system of the subjects (maybe I just missed that part) but I think that, since the higher-class domes are of significance to the story, you want the reader to easily identify that.

You could always change the subjects' titles to a language other than Greek - try Latin (Primus & Secondus) or something else. Using a more obscure language might help. Or you could always come up with something completely out there, if there's no caste system you want the reader to grasp.

If you need help, try a random name generator (http://www.behindthename.com/random/ is my favorite). That can get you some interesting names, and you can simply match the sound you want to the object or research what the names mean (again, behindthename.com is great for this).

Good luck!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

craig
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Re: Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by craig » July 29th, 2010, 4:48 pm

A random name generator is the most amazing thing I've ever heard of. (I am completely serious.) I've never heard of it before.

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dios4vida
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Re: Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by dios4vida » July 29th, 2010, 5:16 pm

craig wrote:A random name generator is the most amazing thing I've ever heard of. (I am completely serious.) I've never heard of it before.
It is an amazing toy. I've spent far too long just hitting the button and seeing what I get. Oh, the characters that have no home, no story, nothing but a name!!

I hope it helps you. :)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

craig
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Re: Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by craig » July 29th, 2010, 5:18 pm

dios4vida wrote:
craig wrote:A random name generator is the most amazing thing I've ever heard of. (I am completely serious.) I've never heard of it before.
It is an amazing toy. I've spent far too long just hitting the button and seeing what I get. Oh, the characters that have no home, no story, nothing but a name!!

I hope it helps you. :)
It'll definitely help!

I'm been reading through my WIP and I've noticed I named a LOT of my characters after five-year-olds that I know (through one of my old jobs as a daycare employee). I need a different source of names.

heyimkt
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Re: Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by heyimkt » July 29th, 2010, 5:49 pm

Well, I'm just throwing this in here since you already found out about the random name generator's awesomeness haha, but I think your story sounds really cool! And I'd definitely keep the names for the domes, since it seems you have been using the names for them longer. For the people in the experiments, maybe try single words that fit that group (personal/physical similarities)? Or what they are exactly being tested on? But that's a total suggestion, since I don't know much about your WIP. Just wanted to say it sounds like you've got great idea! :)

Oh, and this made me laugh:
craig wrote: I'm been reading through my WIP and I've noticed I named a LOT of my characters after five-year-olds that I know (through one of my old jobs as a daycare employee). I need a different source of names.

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AnimaDictio
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Re: Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by AnimaDictio » July 29th, 2010, 10:55 pm

Random Name Generator?! That is hotness!

*off to play*

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CharleeVale
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Re: Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by CharleeVale » July 29th, 2010, 11:59 pm

I bought a Latin dictionary. It's amazing the things you can come up with by tweaking the Latin names for things. My WIP is full of them. :)

CV

GabbyP
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Re: Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by GabbyP » July 30th, 2010, 10:33 am

If you know any IT people who work in large companies...give them a call and ask them how they name their servers. Techie people tend to love sci-fi, and often the servers in their server farms reflect this love. I worked at one place where each new server was named after an asteroid, or a famous physicist. At another company, the servers were named after dinosaurs. Another one used the names of gems.

(maybe you could use some hidden Cdn humour and use donut names ;-)

craig
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Re: Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by craig » July 30th, 2010, 9:21 pm

heyimkt wrote:For the people in the experiments, maybe try single words that fit that group (personal/physical similarities)? Or what they are exactly being tested on? But that's a total suggestion, since I don't know much about your WIP.
Thanks! This is what I ended up going with!

Without getting too into the details, there are two rounds of test subjects -- one from the previous year and one from the previous week.

The ones from the previous year (formerly known as the Alphas) have all developed golden translucent skin as a side effect -- so they are now known as the Goldens.

The second round of test subjects (formerly known as the Betas) did not suffer this fate, so they are collectively called the Norms. (Short for Normals.) I think "Norms" is a bit lamesauce, but this term is used maybe four times, so I'm okay with it.

At least... I'm sticking with these names for the time being...

jkmcdonnell
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Re: Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by jkmcdonnell » July 30th, 2010, 10:40 pm

Craig, I have the exact. same. problem. I am utterly useless with finding names for all the pieces of my novel's world. I'll have to give that random name generator a try.
CharleeVale wrote:I bought a Latin dictionary. It's amazing the things you can come up with by tweaking the Latin names for things. My WIP is full of them. :)
I've done the same, but cheated... http://ablemedia.com/ctcweb/showcase/wordsonline.html is amazing.

ink spills
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Re: Naming / Numbering -- Help???

Post by ink spills » July 30th, 2010, 10:54 pm

I have a twist on that problem. All of my characters have K's in their name. Some of them have K's in their first AND last names. It's gotten to the point where it is a writing tic. Karinya, Kavnevsky, Karatrovich, etc. (If you can't tell, my WIP is set in Russia.)
A random name generator... I shall have to try this. At the moment, I rifle through baby name websites such as http://www.baby-names-meanings.net/, but I invariably gravitate towards the K names. Agh!

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