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"Which comes first, names or characters?", 12 days ago, 5:09 PM #1
Matt Comics
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after so many years of creating characters, I noticed a funny pattern. I either come up with a character concept and figure everything about them in minutes except their name, or find a cool name and nothing else. (this doesn't apply to personifications, which is probably why I got so many of them XD)

the first scenario happens much more often. I usually end up rummaging the internet and my notes for any name or word even remotely connected to the character's personality/role/power/whatever else because I love meaningful names, or just names that allow for many pun opportunities.

when I get the name first, I either create a character around it, or browse through my nameless concepts to see if it could fit one of them.

I can't wait for the day where I'll come up with both at the same time.

how about y'all?
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12 days ago, 5:15 PM #2
JuicyGrey
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It's character first by their design. Name comes when name comes, often accidentally, but few got their name rather easily. Quite funnily enough it seem be going by their personality. If person isn't eager to introduce themselves, I might not have name until much later...
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12 days ago, 6:53 PM #3
mightguy15

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DEFINATELY the character first, design and everything. The only time I even consider coming up with a name is when I have a clear direction of how I want the character to look, and then I give him a name based on his personality and apperance.

for example this character
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I consider this a great example. Your character doesn't particularly have to have a compelling name, but if he looks unique, he will always be identifiable. I called this character Crow, because he garnered and interest in using crow feathers to make a cape, and he is always interested in concepts of death, and is a powerful mage that utilizes dark scary spells
12 days ago, 8:13 PM #4
SpiraPhantom

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My characters get their names pretty late. Man, they even get their DESIGNS pretty late. First I come up with the core idea of the character: who that character is, what his purpose for the story is, what his character is. Then I design the character to look accordingly. And then I pick out a name. And who knows what the name can be... all sorts of names.
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12 days ago, 8:35 PM #5
Caley Tibbittz Collopy
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Location: , location -- they say it's important. But where you are can be gone, in the smallest of moments. When breath it gets ragged, when the blood won't stay in... I fought death for your love -- I couldn't possibly win.
In the case of my main comic's lead, Artemis came first, then a design, then a secret identity of Kathryn Davis, then a renaming to Kathryn O'Mega, then a major redesign, then a decision that the fake-ass O'Mega would be an alias and that O'Brian would be her real last name, then the concept that Artemis was a legacy title in which she was part of a line of others who'd been given the title, then a decision that she'd start with a different alias surname (Kennedy), then a years-too-late realization that her superhero name should be SwordCat, then a retcon to wedge that into the continuity I'd long established in the webcomic and the 7 years of scripts I've already written ahead to follow it (plus various spinoff scripts), then a further retcon that a struggle between her personal identity and the demands placed upon her might be well-reflected in a "marriage" of the two superhero names into Artemis the SwordCat...

...development can melt one's mind.
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12 days ago, 8:43 PM #6
kyrtuck

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True, I almost always think of characters names last.
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12 days ago, 9:51 PM #7
OnePunchLucario

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I almost always create the design before naming the characters (there are exceptions every once in a blue moon). Sometimes my characters can go for a long time without names. I know recently a character I have created went 2 weeks before I decided a name for him
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12 days ago, 9:57 PM #8
PeterVonBrown

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In terms of my comic, the 'wolves get their names after their design. Mostly because I would draw them before it ever had been thought of as a comic. There are 2 characters that got named first, though. Lynda and Jon. Lynda for a special reason, as an homage to someone (no one I know personally) and Jon (who is not a werewolf and likely to be the only regularly occurring human character to appear in the comic) I thought of beforehand. Just did. But on the whole, yeah, name them after. Novel writing, however, is sometimes a {ahem!} different story.
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"Which comes first, names or characters?", 12 days ago, 9:58 PM #9
rickrudge

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Yeah, with me it’s characters first. I need to make one of those name gambling wheels and then spin the wheel when I need a name. Clickity, clickity, clickity, and the name is Joe. :-)

In my last Tag Forester comix, “A Weak Sister”, I neglected to name one of the inconsequential characters and it turned out that the guy was perfect as the murder suspect. It complicated the whole end of the story. Names are more important than I thought.

— Rick Rudge
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12 days ago, 10:04 PM #10
Leafa
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Characters first, definitely. In fact I have a bad habit of writing whole scripts without coming up with a name. There are still some bits of the Earth in a Pocket script where Halisi is called "the Curator" like she's a Time Lord.
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12 days ago, 10:09 PM #11
Microraptor
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Characters first usually - but I do have kind of a pool of cool names that I would like to use one day, and I am waiting for a fitting character for them to come along.
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12 days ago, 10:10 PM #12
SpiraPhantom

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Leafa:Characters first, definitely. In fact I have a bad habit of writing whole scripts without coming up with a name. There are still some bits of the Earth in a Pocket script where Halisi is called "the Curator" like she's a Time Lord.


Oh, yeah, I also have that habit of forgetting to even create a name for a character. I mean, I have "Masked Marshall", who's basically an elf marshall in a mask...
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12 days ago, 10:18 PM #13
JammyTheBirb
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Leafa:There are still some bits of the Earth in a Pocket script where Halisi is called "the Curator" like she's a Time Lord.


Plot twist!

I tend to go roughly in this order: Concept, name, design. Sometimes the latter two get swapped around, or bits of the process blend together, but I tend to create characters when I know I have a role to fill. And since I do a lot of planning and summerising, that's where they end up first.

Sometimes names take forever to come. Captain Colton was only given an actual name on the page he was first mentioned, because I realised I'd only scripted him as 'The Captain' and he probably needed one. Seb's sisters Charlotte and Vera had already appeared in the printed version of act 1 and made a cameo in the comic before I realised I really had to name them... Then I couldn't think of anything and asked a friend to help.
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12 days ago, 10:37 PM #14
Fluffythespider
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I almost always think of a character's role and attitude before I think of a name. Unless I need like a place holder name or something. I usually think of a name while I'm designing them or at least thinking of dialogue for them, if not I'll search through some until I find one that fits. I can almost never think of good last names on my own, those are usually the last things I consider. For my webcomic, I've been trying to keep the names sort of old-sounding. There are exceptions.

I do know the longer I wait to give the character a name, the harder it is to find one that fits, so I try to get one nailed down early. My comic's main character doesn't have a name, and at this point I'd probably have a hard time finding one that fits. An other nameless character will get a name, and it took me a long time to think of one I was happy with.
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12 days ago, 10:39 PM #15
ebarie

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My character designs just start as doodles in my sketch book or scraps of paper at work. It is not until, I need a character for Ace to battle it out with, that I will then go back and develop one. I try to keep it simple.
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12 days ago, 10:41 PM #16
MK_Wizard

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It depends. Sometimes I have something in mind and draw accordingly and sometimes, I will draw something so random that I fall in love with it and create a story around it.
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11 days ago, 3:14 AM #17
SharpyTheYellowKirby
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First up, the character is designed, and then I give them a cute little name about three seconds after I finished. Except Penny, who was named before she was designed but she was only in like 4 comics so who cares.
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11 days ago, 3:17 AM #18
MST3KFan

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I usually design a character before I give them a name. Then I begin the long drawn out task of looking at name sites for names that 'click' with my characters. First names first, then last names that sound good with those.

My main character Charlotte Pendleton for example. Originally her first name was Denise, but I remember coming across a character in an anime named "Charlotte", and I liked the name enough that I changed her name. I eventually came up with her background having been she was from a rich and powerful family and started to look for last names that belonged to families that were powerful and somehow Pendleton clicked there.

And on and on...
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11 days ago, 5:38 AM #19
HeSerpenty

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Usually my characters start out as a "I need this kinda character"...then everything else comes pouring forth and a lot of the time the name is the very last thing to happen :P

Usually once they have a name that name is pretty final.
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11 days ago, 6:02 AM #20
snuffysam

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I suppose SOME characters I end up going in name-first, just because I end up scrapping the character and going "well, no need to waste a perfectly good name". But that's because most of my names are randomly generated, and rarely have to do with their personalities. The only exceptions are characters who use aliases (Knife Man, Electric Zebra, etc), characters whose names are scrambled up after some mythological figure (Atalis Mons, Diamis Artene, Poly Henari), some sort of pun (Dide Vurst, Damo Lisen), and some other minor aspects (Zaxaty having the same first letter as her brother, Zofuhu having the same first letter as his alias, etc).

(also, fun fact - Mizuki's name was chosen late into the production of the original short film the comic is based off because I realized that for an anime parody, it would be slightly jarring for the protagonist to have a name that doesn't sound Japanese at all. Mizuki's original name? Pejiba Va.)


TBH I think the more interesting question (at least for me) is "which comes first, abilities or personality".

For Mizuki, Cahe, Pejiba, King Zebugu, and Mr. Enetoro, the personality came before the abilities/lack thereof (though for Mizuki, her character arc changed quite a bit once I had decided on her specific abilities).

For a certain recently introduced redhead... I suppose "mizuki really needs an edgy rival/occasional ally/potential love interest. just for kicks" came in at around the same time as "he stabs people"?

But for everyone else... yeah abilities came first. Surprisingly, "what if a character could reflect insults back at you, and they came true" came before "her parents were killed at a young age and she was forced into a gang lifestyle so she has trouble understanding unconditional love and also her growth is definitely screwed up due to carrying weights around since birth". And yes, Chief Horajufa being able to control model airplanes came long before him being Chief of Police or Pejiba's parents' killer.

. . .

OH WAIT Chill Bro was totally name first. No technicalities there, he's completely based off a stupid pun.
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