I really enjoy naming characters. It’s one of my favorite parts of character creation. The first thing I do is peruse my favorite baby name book. I’ve got a list of favorite names marked. Then, I usually add to it the list for whatever the particular story is that I’m working on. Then, I make sure I haven’t already used the name. Because that would suck a lot. (I don’t usually worry about it for the flash fiction, but I do for novels.)
Then I like to use friends and family for last names – rarely ever first names because that would be weird for me. Like, I could never name a character Killian or Corwin or Cait or Matt. All of my nieces’ and nephews’ names are out and so are my daycare kids’ names. And main characters will never get a names that belong to my friends. So, you’ll never see a Jess/Jessica, Kris, Jen, Kayleigh, Kellie/Kelly, (I actually do have a Gwen, but that was before I knew Gwen), Paige, Roxanne, Sarah, Charlotte, Laura, Ali, Jule etc.
So, back to the last name thing. I’ll frequently ask permission to use the last names of friends in stories, so I’ve got Podgorski, Seafort, Zielin, Jones, Wright, DeBoer, Degner, etc. I give some people common last names, but often, as you can see above, many of the names I like have a little identifiable ethnic character.
A couple of my favorite names for recent characters are Harper Yovanoff and Elliot Zielin – the main characters from my Halloween story, Rising Blood. I love both their names – first and last.
Some other favorite first names for past female characters are: Hollis, Tabby, Wrenn, Tristan, Mellie, and Devon. And male characters: Jude, Rory, Noah, Gideon, Micah, Noah, and Jonah.
What are some of your favorite character names – either in your own work or someone else’s? Share! And be sure to check out the other bloggers’ faves by clicking on their names.
4 thoughts on “How I Name My Characters – A Look at Some Faves”
Behind the name dot com. Love that site. The original site is all first names. I usually use it for first names however if you look at the bottom of the page on the left side under “Popular Features” it has a Surname link, which will bring you to it’s twin site for Surnames.
Another site I love is Nymbler dot com. It has a name assistant that has really helped me many many times. You pick names you like as inspirations and it gives you more names that are of that ilk. It’s pretty awesome.
I also love to peruse cemeteries. They have some of the most awesome names. Snap shots and then I can write them down. (Psst just between us, I’ve never followed through on the writing them down part. Sigh) The best about the cemetery is the plethora of last names I tend to find.
My other source for surnames is the phone book. Yes they still have them. Yes I actually keep mine. Hehee
Names are always important to me. Once I name my character he or she seems to take root and grow. They become solid in my head. So the name has to be just right or the story stalls. At least for me. So I will work on a name until it’s right and I know it’s right when the character tells me so.
I love this! And thanks for the sites! I’ll be using them in the near future! I sometimes use graveyards, too. Bibianna from this week’s flash fiction is from a family cemetery. 🙂
Just realized I almost wrote my own blog in reply to yours. Oops. Sorry it was so long. 🙂
No! Don’t apologize! I love it! 😀