Character names for short stories and novels

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  1. BWD316 profile image87
    BWD316posted 6 years ago

    when/if you write short stories or even novels (like im attempting!) how do you come up with your character names? do you use people from your life or do you let the character develop before giving them a name? I have a few thousand words written for a story and just can't think of good character names.  Any suggestions on names or how to come up with them would be appreciated thanks!

    1. sofs profile image81
      sofsposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I was just writing one and came up with the same problem....  Actually I was at the point of completing my story and  I felt that the name did not fit the character... so I went to the list of baby names on Google search and picked up the one's I liked... smile Hope that gives you an idea.. Have fun!

      1. BWD316 profile image87
        BWD316posted 6 years agoin reply to this

        lol sofs i was doing the same thing last night, i decided the characters would be around my age, so i went to popular baby names in 1987 (the year i was born) i started to pick ones i liked but none seem to fit the characters, at least yet, thanks for the suggestion though and good luck finding your character's name!

  2. livewithrichard profile image86
    livewithrichardposted 6 years ago

    For me, every character that I have ever created was based on a real person from my life. s/he could have been someone from when I was a kid or the person I met at the coffee shop last week.  I give them a personality first and once they have that the names just fit into place.

  3. Cardisa profile image92
    Cardisaposted 6 years ago

    For me, when the idea for the story forms so do the characters. The names are usually based on the personality of the character. The names usually just come to me then.

    A good way to select your characters names is to write an outline of each character and their personalities, then choose the name. For example, you know a Brad would probably be someone sexy. A Sarah would be someone beautiful but simple, a hidden beauty with kind heart.

    If you need help just let me know.

    1. BWD316 profile image87
      BWD316posted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I was actually thinking about doing this, having a profile for each character might work better than me just trying to remember everything.  I'll have to work on the profiles before the names, thanks for the suggest!

  4. Greekgeek profile image90
    Greekgeekposted 6 years ago

    I pick names that have a mythic or etmoylogical meaning that resonates. It can't be obvious, if it's set in the modern world, but for an example you all know, Remus was reared by a wolf, yet in more recent years has picked up more humble connotations because of uncle Remus, whereas Lupin is how the British pronounce the name of a flower, making it a good name for a gentle soul, yet it is also derived from the Latin for wolf. That was a great name-choice!

    Then agian, I've always admired the Tolkien school of naming, inventing whole languages with etymological histories, naming his characters with them, and then trusting that even if you don't know the Ar- prefix means royal, you'll still think the names Arwen and Aragorn "sound right." They sound like they're from the same world. Whereas the Rohirrim, using old English roots for their names, sound like a different culture because the very names they use are different.

    Obviously, for stories set in the modern world, that approach would be ludicrous, but it just shows how important names are. Tolkien started with the names and language and created a world and stories to give them context.

    1. Cardisa profile image92
      Cardisaposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I did that in one of my romance stories where the three sisters were named as they were for a reason. I find that to be useful as well but mostly I go with my instincts.


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