Coming up with the character names for a new book is like being pregnant in a way. You have all these people to name.
Sometimes that’s easy. Sometimes it’s not. Sorta like childbirth.
Many authors use placeholder letters for names and then fill in later with the names they’ve chosen using search and replace.
I can’t do that. Without specific names, it’s hard for me to visualize the story.
Once I have the characters and setting clearly in my head, I feel like I have bona fide people and places and can unravel the story.
That’s why I choose names before I write a single word and there is a lot to consider besides gender.
- Is the name easily pronounceable or easily sounded out?
- Do the first name and surname sound good together?
- Do the names start with the same letter or sound similar?
- Are the names appropriate for the story setting, era, and genre?
- Have I varied syllables and lengths?
Two sites help me come up with options: naming your child and naming pets. Name generator sites are also helpful too. Even if you’re not writing a book, name generators can be fun to play with.
I use these two:
Character Name Generator – You fill in several different defining factors and you get options that fit your character.
Name Generator for Fun – This one offers several categories to choose from. If you have a dragon to name, it’s got suggestions.
After weeks of searching for names, I finally settled on Gus, MaryDee, Willa, Claudia, Todd, and Kayley. Now on with the story.