Since Papabear's in basket is empty once more (hint hint), I thought I would write on a subject that recently had some debate on this site: furry names. There was a recent letter from a furry who was concerned about his name being unoriginal, and, outside this site, I have occasionally chatted with furs who have been having difficulty coming up with a name for their fursonas or, sometimes, for stories they are writing.
So, how does one come up with a cool name?
When I was thinking of a name for my alter ego, Grubbs Grizzly, I wanted something unique. I started with the last name, which was kind of a given and not too original, but I wanted to be clear about my species--so, Grizzly it was. But what of the first name? I didn't want to be known only as Grizzly or Mr. Grizzly or maybe Brer Grizz.
I next thought about my fursona. Who was he? Well, he was a very laid-back bear, as most bears are. He was inspired by Disney's "The Country Bears," but I didn't want him to be a rip-off of those characters. Nor did I want him to be Baloo, though I love Baloo and Grubbs has a rather Baloo-ish personality. So I thought more about the character. I pictured him in kind of dirty, worn-out denim overalls (looking back, I guess overalls on bears are kind of cliche, too, oh well, I like 'em). I started thinking of names that describe that, and "grubby" popped into my head, which evolved into "Grubs" and then "Grubbs" with 2 b's. I'm not sure how that got in my grey matter, but it must have been subconscious because later I came across some people in my research with the name Grubbs as a last name. Anyway, I liked the name because it was both descriptive and alliterative, and being a writer, I have a fondness for occasional alliteration or assonance, with maybe a little onomatopoeia thrown in.
When it comes to fiction, I often adopt character names from history, pop culture, and literary sources such as Greek and Roman mythology. In my novel, The Steel of Enadia, the main protagonist is named Jann after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions because his character is key to a major upheaval in his world. Brodi, Jann's companion, comes from a slang term meaning several things, including "accident," "taking a chance," and "to steal." All of which have some relevance to the character. Speritus, Jann's wizard mentor, is a bastardization of the word "inspiration," because that is what he does for Jann.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Back to fursonas. Selecting a name can be a very personal thing for some, but for others it really is just something for fun and is not that serious. For the former crowd, I suggest you really get in touch with your alter ego, envisioning who that person really is, what his/her traits are, both physical and emotional. If you reflect on those things long enough, often an appropriate name will come to mind.
You can also think about your heritage when coming up with a name and draw on your family's culture to find an appropriate handle, whether that may be Asian or African or Native American or European or whatever, there is a lot you can draw on. For instance, a bear friend of mine has a Scottish background. I suggested the name "Mathan," which is Gaelic for bear. Or, say you are a cheetah and your roots go back to Swahili culture.... you could adopt the name Mwepesi, which means "swift." Or you are Chinese and you have a sweet personality, your name could be 甜.
The possibilities are endless. You have thousands of years of history and culture to draw upon, not to mention the spiritual world and your own inner world.
Have fun with it. Be creative! A good name will literally last you a lifetime :-3
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