Being a writer is a wonderful thing but can also be exhausting. We have so many things to do when writing our books-ideas, plot outlines, figuring out a title, finding the right book cover, and the list goes on and on and on. Then there is the subject of coming up with character names. How do you come up with character names?
I have a few different ways of coming up with names for my characters.
Start with names you like-When I first started compiling a list of both male and female character names, I just wrote down names that I like.
Think about names you don’t like-I think everyone has names that they are not fond of. For example, I don’t like the names Josh, David or Frank. Nothing against people with these names, but I have not had good experiences with people who have had these names. I would never use them as a character in my book.
Keep your eyes and ears out-I am always listening for different names in conversation and looking at people’s name tags who work in stores and restaurants.
Find names on social media-Pay attention to the names of the people who post in the groups you are in on social media. There are many times I have come across a cool first name and have added it to my list. Social media is a great way to find new and interesting names.
What are some of your favorite foreign countries?-Think of places, you either have traveled or would like to travel out of your country and look up popular names from that country. For example, I love the Irish name Padraic which is the Gaelic form of Patrick.
Baby Name Lists-This is my last resort when trying to come up with names. Granted, I have found some cool names on these lists, I want my characters to have unique names and not what is popular right now or in this decade.
Take Your Character Names A Step Further.
I haven’t done this yet but I’m going to start when I choose names for my characters in the future. Think about the kind of story you are writing and choose the names off your list that you think will best compliment your storyline. From there, look up the meaning of each name and then choose the best one for your hero and heroine. For me, I think this will not only help flesh out a character sketch but it will also help incorporate characteristics in my character that go along with the meaning of their name. This will also help in developing a more well-rounded character.
So, what’s in a name? The perfect concept of your character. I hope by using some of these ideas, you will not only grow a list of names that you love but also have extra inspiration from the names you pick to build strong, robust characters.