Naming Your Characters

How easy is it for you to come up with character names? What’s your method for picking names?

Names you like (or that sound pretty)
Names you wish you’d named your child
Making up a completely original name from scratch
Picking names based on their meaning
Naming characters after people you know
Picking names in a totally random way (like grabbing a book and picking the first name on the first page you open to)

For first drafts, I usually never pick surnames. My characters only go by their first names, which are picked based on their meaning (most of the time). When I revise for a second draft, I usually pick random surnames out of books or borrow the surnames of people I know.

For my first story (Cain), my two main characters went by “the boy” and “the girl” for the entire length of the first draft, then I went back and named them “Vince Thomas” (first name was borrowed from someone, last name was random) and “Jeannie Milano” (both names were borrowed from two people I know). My main antagonist was originally called “X” (as a placeholder) and then I realized that the one-letter name fit him quite well as a nickname, so I kept it. He still doesn’t have a last name, though… working on that!

I also found a few handy name generators online:

The Random Name Generator
The Name Generator
Behind the Name Random Name Generator

So… how do you name your characters? Do you pick middle names and nicknames, too? Leave a comment and let me know! 🙂

3 thoughts on “Naming Your Characters

  1. I look through baby name websites/books and pick names that have interesting meanings or that I think fit what the character’s personality is all about. The newest character I’m developing got her name because it was her mother’s favourite author – go figure. Lol. And I’ve always wanted to have a character with the name as well. 🙂

    Good luck!

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