What’s in a name? A lot actually, naming your characters may be more difficult than other aspects of building your story and you’ll want to nail it from the get go. I get just as nervous when naming a character as I was when trying to name my son a few years ago. Their name is what they will be known as and it may even define them. It was an extremely stressful situation for me and as time began to run out I threatened to name my child Africa and call it a day (we didn’t name him Africa or Itumeleng, but we came pretty close to it).
When naming a character (or a child) you can:
- Get to know your characters thoroughly and decide on a name from there.
- Give them a name according to the meaning and personality trait you want your character to have. E.g. Ezra means helper.
- Give them a name that makes sense for the time period or region they are in.
- Name them according to their ethnic background.
- Make their name applicable to their role i.e. royalty, etc.
- Choose a name that’s appropriate for your genre.
- Use the name or surname of a friend, family member or acquaintance.
- Use a memorable, unique name among ‘normal’ names to make it stand out even more.
- Apply these tips to your other characters in the story as well.
- Avoid using the same sounding names, surnames and initials for your characters as it might confuse your reader.
- Go through phone books, magazines and visit libraries for inspiration.
- Use a name generator – Fantasy Name Generators, Behind The Name, Fake Name Generator, Baby Name Genie, Best Little Baby, Baby Names Etc., Baby Name Wizard, Nymbler, Oxford Dictionaries Baby Names Generator, Baby Center Celebrity Baby Name Generator, Baby Center Baby Names, Hipster Baby Name Generator.
- Use a name translator – Basis Technology, Namepedia, Hawaiian Ring, Japanese Translator and Ireland 101 Irish Name .
- Check the meaning of a name with Name Meaning, Babble, Baby Ballot and org.
- Read the name aloud to make sure that it’s easy to say and makes sense.
- Have fun!
I hope this post helps you to choose your character’s names easily so that you can get to write your novel in no time.
Do you have any other tips to help choose a character’s name? What is your favourite character’s name? How do you go about choosing a name for your character? Let me know by commenting below!
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