Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Character Names

One of my favorite parts of writing is naming the characters. Like Sierra, I use name websites a lot to help me with this task. Some of my favorites are: babynames.com, 20000-names.com, and behindthename.com.

When I name my characters, I almost always choose the names first by figuring out my character's ethnicity and country of origin (or ancestor's country of origin). Then I go about finding a name that matches a certain quality or trait regarding the character. For instance, if I were to have a character that was very much into protecting others, I would go with something like Alexander/Alexandra, which means "defender of mankind."

Sometimes though, a character will emerge with a name, and I don't have to worry about picking out just the right one. I enjoy either path, though it is nice when I do get to go through the lists of names. A lot of the time it gives me ideas for secondary characters, or even ones not related to that story.

How about you? What are your methods of naming characters? I'd love to hear your opinions. =)

3 deadly screams:

vagabondsaint said...

I usually name characters after people in my life I've liked(or disliked in the cases of villains) which have been slightly altered or else changed into relatable names by completely esoteric means. Other than that, I just make them up out of thin air. Maybe that's been the source of one of my writing difficulties. . .I'll have to think about that. Thanks for the blog highlighting names; I'd really not put that much thought into them before!

VS -08.27.08

Molly Daniels said...

A lot of times, my characters come to me already named. Other times, I'll think of a letter I've not used for the first name and take it from there. If I'm really stumped, I'll ask my kids for a name, or use the phone book/year book method.

Gracen Miller said...

I've been known to put the naming question to my kids and wait and see what they toss out at me. And boy, some of those names are really out of this world. lol But it's a great way to get the brain juices flowing.