Adventures in NaNo-Land – It’s all in a Name

November 5, 2012 at 12:14 am (fantasy, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , , )

With some of my stories I haven’t been particular about choosing names for characters, but I’ve always felt it was important when writing a tale set in a different culture. If I’m going to the trouble to make sure I research to find appropriate names for that culture, I may as well make sure to match those names to the characters as much as possible. Here are some of my characters and the meanings of their names.

Oaván – The protagonist of my story. His name means “brave” so I figured it was appropriate.

Lieđđi – My leading lady. Her name means “flower”. She is a gentle-natured soul, a vulnerable, natural beauty, so it seemed fitting.

DáiduOaván’s brother who can do no wrong and excels at everything. His name means “skill”.

JaskáOaván and Dáidu’s mother. She is normally reserved and purposefully avoids conflict, despite being a robust and intimidating woman. Her name means “quiet”.

Osku – Oaván and Dáidu’s father, who was one of the best noaidi (spiritual leader) that the village of Anár ever had. His name means “faith”.

Heaibmu – tribal chieftain of Anár, he personifies the tribal mentality of the village. His name means “tribe”.

Rana – Heaibmu’s daughter and the woman who rejected Dáidu. She represents the common mindset of the women in her village, sharing in it despite being of higher status.
Hers was a popular name of Sami girls that originated from mythology, where it was the daughter of the god who created the world.

I have an entire list of names to choose from and their meanings if I need to choose more names for lesser characters as I go. I think it adds an extra dimension to the story.

I’ve also posted my last completed first draft chapter (Chapter 2) at You can find it at this link:

And here is a little excerpt from Chapter 3:

Dáidu helped, in fact, he remembered the steps even better than his mother did. He readied Oaván, made the necessary cuts, tied the required tourniquet and prayed as his mother initiated the flow from Oaván into Lieđđi. She did not react poorly to the infusion, no violent response after several minutes, which suggested her body had not rejected his blood. Rather, the colour gradually returned to her pale skin, her breathing strengthened, and she even released a quiet whimper at one point. Oaván was overjoyed.

At the soft sound of Lieđđi’s voice, Jaská spoke up.

“That’s enough then. We stop now. If this is going to help her, this should do it. We don’t want to take too much from you, Oaván.”

As she sewed up first Lieđđi’s incision and then Oaván’s, Dáidu cleaned Osku’s equipment and restored it to its place. When Jaská was done, she returned to Lieđđi’s side to see how the young woman was faring. Oaván wanted to see too, but when he got to his feet he felt woozy, and the world spun for him. He would have fallen to the floor had Dáidu not been there to brace him. Jaská looked back at him, concerned.

“Sit down, you foolish boy. You will be weak for some time, and I may have taken too much from you.” Dáidu helped him back into his seat. Oaván didn’t resist, still dizzy, with sweat beginning to bead his brow. He noticed a mild tremor to his limbs as well. “Dáidu, go fetch him food to replenish his strength,” their mother continued. “Organ meat if you can find it – that was what Osku insisted was best.”

The older brother was quick to obey. Oaván, feeling faint, did not notice him go, nor did he see his mother gentle wrap Lieđđi once more in her deerskin before surrounding her with the furs from her bed, his vision blurred. Next thing he was aware of was his mother carefully wiping his brow with a dampened piece of brushed hide.

More tomorrow J


  1. Christina Westover said,

    I love these names and their corresponding meanings. “Flower” is a perfect name…wish I would have thought of it when my daughters were born!

  2. chantellyb said,

    The names are different and I really want to find something online that offers proper pronunciation (especially for Heaibmu). Along with the names the story contains quite a few words that don’t have a proper translation in English.I’ve left them as is and I plan on including a glossary for them along with the story. I love writing this kind of story because I learn so much from it.

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