When writing a fiction story, how do you come up/choose last names?
It depends on the type of story. As I like SF and Fantasy I often just make up names that sound real yet are not.
It really does depend. I also write fantasy and if it takes place "off earth" I often make simple names up, most of them sounding alike based on the culture I've created (and if it's based on a "real" culture here on Earth.)
For stories that take place a little close to home, it comes down to two things. 1) Whatever sounds good with their first name (that comes to mind first) and 2) Any names that may reflect their heritage. Of course sometimes this goes the other way, I'll give a character a last name and then look it up to figure out what their genetic history may be.
This might sound silly, but I pretend they are my children, and give them a name that sounds good with each other. Obviously, I'll have already decided the gender, age, and nationality of my character, which give me a starting point. Based on these factors, I look into the character and give them a name I love. Once they have a first name (which always seems to be the easiest part for me) it's like naming them in reverse. What sounds good and plausible with the first name (I usually give them a middle name too, even if I never use it in the story, just to help me find the last name). It's a really subjective process, with lots of ways to do it, but I think your instincts will lead you in the right direction. Have fun with it, you're in control and can do what you like!
This is probably a little odd, but when I used to write short stories in high school I'd consult my stack of baseball cards. I'd pick a first name from one card, the last name from another card, and if they sounded good together I'd roll with it.
I usually steal names from books or television programmes that I love, either that or I name charecters after my friends... Failing that i look p baby names on the internet! Lol x
When I wrote fiction regularly, I often kept lists of last names. It can be tough to come up with names on the spot in the middle of writing.
I LOVE this question. I have always had the most difficulty with coming up with names in my books and stories. In my first book, The Rivers Webb, I lucked out because I was able to use the names of deceased family members, but other than that, I had to struggle with what sounds right and how it would sound off the tongue to my readers. I eventually solved this problem with a bizarrely random, yet somehow effective means: Boggle.
I use an old boggle game, line up the consonants, and compare them to real surnames. The first name usually comes to me once I get that far. It sounds stupid, but I swear it works!
For me, I always find choosing last names the hardest - which is why I asked this question. I run a home business with my fiance and lately have been looking at the last names of our customers and writing down the ones that pop out at me as possibilities. I find that I don't want to go to the standards, I want something kind of different, not hard to pronounce or spell, and something that fits with the first name.
I love all the answers I have been seeing here - you all have some great ideas!
by A James Di Rodi 6 years ago
Did the people in the Bible have last names?
by Sunardi 3 years ago
Do you write fiction story on HubPages?
by Robie Benve 5 years ago
Why do women change their last name when they get married?Some people give me a hard time because I kept my maiden name. I can't really think of more than one good reason to change my name, to show "family belonging". Other than that... do you know of any other good reasons?
by Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago
First name or last name?While addressing or calling your friends and colleagues , what do you prefer? First name or last name?
by William Thomas 7 years ago
This question is specifically for Americans. Have you ever noticed and thought about the...segregation of black and white Americans in terms of names? For example blacks tend to have last names like: Green, Thomas, Washington, Jefferson, etc., to a very high degree. I would say 99 out of 100 times,...
by Chris Mills 3 years ago
Good writing won't save a bad story. Bad writing won't necessarily kill a good story. Thoughts?I read something along these lines recently and I can't remember who wrote it. King? Hemingway? There's no excuse for poor writing, but I'm thinking about the value of a good...
Copyright © 2018 HubPages Inc. and respective owners. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc. HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.
|HubPages Device ID||This is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.|
|Login||This is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.|
|HubPages Traffic Pixel||This is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.|
|Remarketing Pixels||We may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.|
|Conversion Tracking Pixels||We may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.|