by Tasmiah

Question: How am I supposed to come up with a name for my characters because I don't want just any name? I need a name for a male and a female. Any suggestions?

Answer: There are some suggestions for finding character names in this article...

If you don't want to just pick a name at random, then the best sources for first names are the "baby names" websites. These are created for expectant parents and often tell you the meanings of different first names and their ethnic origins.

You can also google a list of popular baby names for any given year or perhaps decade, to make sure, for example, that your 80-year-old characters aren't sporting names that make them sound like the class of 2010.

Surnames are more difficult. It's fairly easy to google a list of common surnames for a particular nation - if ethnicity matters in your story. (If ethnicity doesn't matter, you can get ideas from a phone book.) After that, you may need to look up each surname that sounds appealing to you on a genealogy site to find its meaning.

Of course, you can also make up names, which you might want to do if you're writing fantasy or science fiction. In that case, you're free to decide what the names mean in their native language, or use onomatopoeia (make the sound of the name suggest something about the character).

Comments for names

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Jul 22, 2012
by: Tasmiah

Thank you so much. I found this to be very helpful.

Oct 18, 2012
A rose by any othe name would be lovelier.
by: Hana

Names are important! And I hate it when people try to brush

It is names we remember first and use in conversation to illicit responses for our audience, not physical descriptions and/or personalities alone. For instance, I could say sparkling vegetarian vampire who doesn’t think he deserves the world/his life or his lady love.

Or I could just say Edward Cullen.

You have to consider the origin and meaning of the name (i.e. if your story is set in Japan with a Japanese native, then you probably will want to name him/her a Japanese name), whether the name , and more importantly, does your character love your name? Does it roll off the tongue, grab your heart, make you want to doodle it all over your notebook.

And yet, although names are important, they can be left to be tackled at the end of your first draft, fifteenth draft, or even fiftieth draft.

Yeah, I use baby naming sites (i.e. Nameberry, Behind the Name, Think Baby Names, etc. as a few options if you're too lazy to go out to your local bookstore, and/or not willing to purchase a baby book).

Youtube is really great for naming tips as well. A lot of users like onomatology (the study of names and their origins) and their dedication to research, openness to other users' comments, and frequent posting is admirable! (I like AnastasiaRuby's naming vlog the best! Check her out!)

If you're still stuck on finding that perfect name, try to answer this question: what does the name say about the character before the reader even gets to know?

Still not working.

Use a nameholder for your character(s) momentarily, let the story flow, and then maybe you'll be hit with some naming inspiration.

Anything can trigger a name, so read magazines, listen to people call one another--I recently overheard a mother call her three-year-old Veda, a unique choice considering she looked nowhere near Indian or a practioner of Hinduism =D--find out your ancestors' names, think of the names you'd call your own baby girl or boy, and the possibilities of inspiration are broad!)

Anyways, I'll cut this lengthy comment off. (It's like a short story!)

Oh, Tasmiah, good luck with your naming process, and if you need some naming help, or direction as to where there's more sites, books, vlogs, etc., you can contact me! (And yeah, If you couldn't tell, I love names and naming. I read somewhere that there's such a thing as an onomatology degree! Crazy right? My job could be to just name things, haha XD)

P.S.: You have a beautiful name! I'm probably not doing it justice by pronouncing it =D

Dec 24, 2012
whole bunch of names, help
by: kevin

I need help, I want to make a deathmatch type of book with 100 characters, but I can't find any new or really good names. Help!

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