character names

by shelley reinhard

Question: I'm having trouble naming my characters. I want something unique and different. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Answer: If you want an unusual name, but still one that is traditionally a name in some culture, you might try baby name sites or random name generators (the Scrivener software program for writers has a good random name generator).

If you want a totally unique name, perhaps for a fantasy culture, you might try ...

1. Taking real names and spelling them in unusual ways.

2. Taking real names and swapping a few consonants. (Or do the same but with vowels.)

3. Taking real names and swapping some of the syllables with other names.

4. Look for really old names in historical documents -- 1,000-year-old names, for example. Then change them a little as in #2 or #3 above.

5. Take unusual surnames from a phone directory and make them into first names.

Comments for character names

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 30, 2015
by: Anonymous

I spend time looking up name meanings. I have a character that is very associated with light or bringing light into the dark, so I researched names associated with that. The name doesn't sound like the word "light" but it is associated with the meaning. But I also named my children with names that have meaning, so that is rather my bent.

Jul 07, 2016
by: Anonymous

I give all my characters, even the minor ones, and country of origin and a family religion. I look up names for the particular religion or country and use those.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Character Invite.

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero