Naming your characters. [35/52]

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Naming characters is one of the most difficult parts of the entire novel writing process. It’s such an important step because not only does it make it easier to write your draft (you can stop writing INSERT MAIN CHARACTER NAME), but it helps your character become a real person in your mind.

I prefer to have the names of my characters, at least my main ones, before I start drafting. I was just reading Neil Gaiman’s book of nonfiction and he talked about how he changed the name of a character multiple times until he found one that the character liked.

So, how do you find a name that your character will like? Here are three ways I do it:

Make up names based on things in your world. Admittedly, this works better in science fiction and fantasy books, but the principle still applies. For instance, one of my stories involves the ocean. So I looked up variations of water or ocean or sea.

SPOILER ALERT for my book The Mystery at Pancake Shores, but I chose the name Rissa, because I found it on this random babyname website that said it’s a latin name for “Of the Sea.”

Make a variation of a common name or word. Back to Neil Gaiman--did you know he created the name Coraline by mistyping the name Caroline? I wrote a story where the characters are alien-otter people and the husbands name is Mustellut. It’s a play on Mustelidae, the Family classification where otters fall.

Use a name generator. Seriously. I’ve done this before when I was at a standstill. Just Google, “Sci fi name generator,” or “Futuristic name generator,” and you’ll find some good ones. Here are the first couple names that came from the first generator I found:

Elrin | Tryst | Tobs | Yos | Ifan | Izbella | Avaeana | Angique | Emiliye | Dmi

Put in the time thinking about the perfect name for your characters. You won’t regret it. And when your readers comments how much they loved so and so, you’ll be thankful you spent the time finding the perfect name.

Jump. Build, Fly.
F.C. Shultz