Starting a new story? Great! If you have a large cast of characters, finding unique names might be tricky. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
1. Match the names with personalities:
This is especially fun with the villains. Sometimes having names mean what they are, is nothing but a lot of fun. Like Maleficent, for example. So go ahead, search the dictionary for name-like sounding words, and character-cast your heart out.
2. Go classic, go bold:
Nothing wrong with a classic! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it … am I right? John, Jessica and Alexander are fab ways to get started. Maybe do a plain-Jane first name with a catchy last name. Or visa-versa.
3. Look to the royals for inspiration:
John, Albert, James are all common names. Or Princess Dianna, Princess Kate …. look to the royals for fun names!
4. Location, location, location!
Is the story set in Scotland? Alabama? Research common names of that locale to find the perfect, inconspicuous sounding perfect name for that location.
But there’s one key word with this method, folks. Research. Not only do you want to research common names, but customs too. Because what is the point of having a perfect locale name if you don’t know how he or she will act in their location?
5. Shakespeare says what’s in a name?
Shakespeare plays are a great resource for names. Although Bottom and Hamlet might not be fitting for your story. But Romeo, Beatrice, why not?
Fun fact: the name “Jessica” was invented by Shakespeare, true story! This also works with Greek tragedies.
6. By the Saints!
Is your character religious? Perhaps give them a name of one of the many saints.
7. What would you name your own children?
Ever think of the perfect name for your future child? Well guess what? Your character is your brain child, that’s sort of the same thing, right?
If nothing else, finding names on baby name sites such as this one is where I get a lot of my character names. You can search by gender.
8. Origins and name meanings:
Also on baby name sites, many provide a way to search for a name meaning. Got a female character as tough as water? Maybe name her River. Although River Tam and River Song might already be taken for female bad-asses.
9. Be original!
Be fun! Be creative! Be silly! Call them fire-breath, after all, what’s in a name?
10. Famous celebs:
Got a favorite movie? Have a dream cast for your movie? Maybe name your characters after your heroes!
In my upcoming novel, In Need of Direction, I have three characters named after my friends pets. The pets by now has passed, so it makes it even more sentimental. It’s a great way to give pets immortality
How do you come up with character names? Do you hate this process or love it? Share your thoughts down below in the comments!