The Blogging from A-Z Challenge continues today. Throughout April I’m posting about my life as a writer, including my inspirations, frustrations and celebrations.
I love the process of naming characters. I probably take it far too seriously than I should, as I spend a lot of time thinking up interesting names.
Here are some of the criteria I use when considering character names:
- Has an interesting meaning or association, preferably not too obvious.
- Fits with my internal image of the character.
- Works well in context (i.e realistic for the time period and setting).
- Looks aesthetically pleasing when written down.
- Sounds nice when spoken and is easy to pronounce.
- Works well with the other characters’ names and is distinct from them (i.e not Anna, Anya, Abi and Alix!)
- Could be shortened to a nickname if needed.
- Not an overused name in this genre.
I’m always on the look out for new names to add to my spreadsheet! I find them in books, articles, TV shows, online comment forms and everyday conversation. I used to work in a pharmacy and I now work in a school; both are excellent places to discover unusual names.
I also search online for names with particular meanings or themes. I like to name characters after animals, stars, flowers and figures from history or mythology.
Here are some of my favourite online name databases:
Sometimes I use baby name books, but you have to be careful about reading those in public or it results in awkward questions!
Before you go…
Writers-where do you get your inspiration for character names?
Readers-what are your favourite names? Is there an interesting story behind your own name?