What’s in a Name

18 Oct

So I have ideas brewing for NaNoWriMo this year with a cast of fairly distinct characters. The only problem is that most of them are nameless at the moment.

Names always seem to be one of the hardest parts of creating a character for me. You want a name that fits the time period of the novel, that goes with the character’s “look” (or description, I suppose), that gives readers a nudge in the direction as to how you want them to image the character. Names are usually how a character is first introduced and, by name alone, we as readers already have an idea as to who the character is.

Think of a young woman named Felicia. She’s going to look a bit different in your mind’s eye than a girl named Jordan, isn’t she? You’re also going to presume Edward isn’t going to act like Wyatt.

I have plenty of resources to find character names, but I still feel a touch stuck. Obviously I can change the names down the line if I feel another moniker suits a character better, but having the characters readily-named would definitely help me keep up with NaNo!

What about you? Have any character naming tips to share?


Posted by on October 18, 2016 in Home


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5 responses to “What’s in a Name

  1. Nthato Morakabi

    October 18, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I don’t have any tips sadly, but I do struggle with the same thing. I have so far names two out of six of my characters. The first one I Googled names and one of the names just immediately stood out. Funny thing about that name, is when I looked it up, it was exactly my character to a T. Needless to say they kept that name.

    When I am stuck for names, I usually go through the alphabets and test out names that begin with that letter. Whichever name sounds “right”, I compare to others of the same name (if I know them) and look up it’s meaning. So far so good.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kris P.

      October 20, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      Scribbling names through the alphabet sounds like a good strategy. Another thing I’ve done for names is scroll through the credits of some of my favorite movies. It especially helps for surnames!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jac forsyth

    October 18, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Sometimes I’ll google the year my character was born and see what the top 10 popular names were. But for protagonists, especially with novels, I usually try to put some imagery in there or tentative link into a myth or fairy tale with a similar character trait or outcome of events. Most of all I try not to make it too obvious. I know the link, but the readers may not. It just seems to help with character development to know there is a bigger story behind them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Skye Hegyes

    October 18, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    I have several apps on my phone that I use for names, and I just search until I find one that feels “right”. The other thing I do is look through yearbooks and mix and mash names that sound like something my character would be called.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Rachel

    October 19, 2016 at 5:55 am

    They may name themselves as you begin to write.

    Liked by 1 person


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