Naming a group

by Marissa

Question: In my book I have normal humans and then humans with powers but I'm not exactly sure what to call them. Right now it's just superhumans but I want to try and get something better than that but I can't think of anything. In X-men they're call mutants and in the TV show Alphas they're called Alphas. I can't think of anything that hasn't already been used. I was hoping you could just give me some ideas on how I could might be able to think of an idea for a name.

Answer: I think you have to get in touch with your inspiration for creating these characters in the first place and what makes them unique. However, as you're doing that, here's some things you might try...

1. A thesaurus. Try looking up synonyms or related words. You might find something that is different and feels right.

2. What is the source of their powers? Science? Magic? Figuring this out specifically may point you in a direction.

3. Consider who named these people. Was it a government, a corporation, a research lab, or did they create a name for themselves? A name created by a bureaucrat or a scientist will be quite different from what they would choose to call themselves.

4. Along those lines, consider your thematic message. What are the values of these people and the world they live in? Are they trying to challenge those values or do they see themselves as victims of the world? What is the philosophy or ideology of the person who named them? What values do they embrace? That may suggest what sort of name they will receive. (For instance, the name Superman originally came from the nihilist philosophy of Nietzsche, where it referred to a next stage in evolution, a being of new, superior values and ability.)

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