My apologies for this being posted a day late; I had finished everything for this post other than one thing in the email, and I had to run to get ready for work. 😂 But it’s here now! Enjoy 🙂
I’m not sure how many posts are out there that teach writers how to name their characters; probably none, because who even writes a post on this subject?? Literally every writer ever has named characters before! Who would think that anyone would need to hear advice on this?
*pushes glasses up my nose* I have named many a character in my time as a writer. I would actually go so far as to say more than most people. If we set someone who has written as long as I have side by side with me, I’d probably still exceed them. That’s mostly due to the first books I wrote: they were a trilogy, and I had like 64 main characters. (I don’t know what to call them now, because they clearly all weren’t a main character, but that’s what I used to refer to them as.)
Over the 6 years I’ve been writing for, I have noticed a couple of things about naming characters – and for some reason, I decided to write a post about it. 😂 (That was an impeccable intro 👌 Now absolutely everyone will definitely want to read this post. Pitching at its finest!) (Note my sarcasm. 😂)
I like to talk about Pinterest a lot, but seriously; it can be so helpful to us writers!
When it comes to names, there are actually a lot of ideas on Pinterest; some are very unique, and others even come with meanings or the origins listed. I keep a whole board of them – though to be honest, I haven’t touched Pinterest very much in the past while. And I actually have two boards. But one is a secret. Is secreted. I don’t know the wording for this. 😂
I dunno why I’m writing like this today but it amuses me.
Keep a Running List
Again: something you see from me a lot. But I just love lists! They’re so helpful!
Whenever I see or hear a name I like, I like to kind of go ooooOOOOOOoooooh! And then I write them down. It’s great.
Also, J.K. Rowling used to do this. Probably not the ooooOOOOOOoooooh part, but she would take note of unusual names she heard. 😂
Consider what time period your character is from and what part of the world they live in. That can really affect what kind of name you’ll choose.
Also, things like ethnicity and religion can also affect what kind of name your character might have.
I know this bit might not matter to some people, but if you have a specific trait in mind for your character, maybe look up names that mean that. When I choose out a name, I tend to also look up what they mean – and in my most recent WIP, for example, I’ve had to take name meanings into serious consideration for story reasons. 😛 Not to mention, it’s kind of a fun little thing for a reader to find. 😃
Think about your character and what their personality is like. If they’re more sweet, their name might be like. Or maybe the exact opposite because of the irony.
I think that it’s cool to set up a name that can have a nickname in it. Both my characters in my NaNoWriMo 2020 novel had names that could have nicknames (though I later changed one, soooooo now it can’t. Oops.). This can be fun when you know your character might not want one, or when it would fit them – or maybe if they just dislike their name.
Trust Your Gut
This is honestly my biggest tip of all; I tend to really just trust my gut reaction to names. When it feels right, it just feels right. As in it is right. 😂
Finding a character name can be fun, and you can add cool stuff on to it. It’s like a fun behind-the-scenes thing for readers to find someday – and also satisfying and evil-author-ish for you. Which is obviously the most important point. 😝
Also, all these tips apply to all your characters! Not just protagonists. 😉
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This post was a little more short and sweet today, but I hope you liked it! I have more stuff coming up, so if you’re interested in seeing the fun I have up my sleeve, make sure to subscribe! 😉 I send out emails with special inside info with every post, as well as a monthly newsletter – not to mention a free 7-day course on defeating writer’s block, and the password to my Resource page! It’s lots of fun, and I’d love to see you on the inside! 😄
This is the first post after a super long series! Who else here is relieved that it’s a standalone one? *raises hand*
How do you usually choose out character names?
And what’s the largest cast of characters you’ve had to name in a single book or series?