Coming up with names for your characters can be hard. To be honest, there are days when I think that, if I’m having trouble naming a character in a book, it’s amazing that my kids were ever named!
There are a number of ways I try to name a character:
Use the first name that comes to mind
Every now and again, a name will just come to me as I write the story, and it works. If it doesn’t, I figure I can always change the name later if I need to.
Baby Name Books & Apps
Books and apps can be useful when you are trying to find a name that is a specific ethnicity, or you are looking for a name that has a specific meaning. When all else fails, close your eyes, open the book, and put your finger on the page, and use the name closest to your finger!
Top 10 or 100 Lists
If you are looking for a name from a certain year or era, then doing a search for the top names of that year or decade, can give you a lot of great ideas for names you may not have thought about before. There are also lists of the worst names in a year, or strangest names.
These can be useful if you are looking for names for a fantasy or science fiction story or are looking for a name that is a bit different from names that would appear in books, apps, or popular name lists.
Ask for suggestions
When I’m really stuck, I will post something on Social Media asking for suggestions. The ideas that come back may be used in the story or may point me in the right direction so I can find a name for my character. I also know of people who have auctioned off the opportunity to name a character in a story!
Names of people you know
As much as I try not to do this, you could name characters after people you know. This can be both a good and bad thing as people you know could take it as a positive or a negative, especially if you name a less than pleasant character after them!
What are some of the other ways you come up with names of characters?
Melissa Gijsbers is an Australian author, blogger, and speaker who has been a member of the Chapter Book Challenge since it began. She currently has three chapter books published, all written and edited during the challenge. When she’s not writing or running workshops, she is caring for two teenage boys and working in the family business. You can find her online at melissagijsbers.com and www.facebok.com/melissagijsbers
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