How do we come up with names for fictional characters?

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Re: How do we come up with names for fictional characters?

Post by ALynnPowers » 22 Dec 2014, 01:08

MichaelMcManus wrote:In my two-book series that spans a forty year period, the names range from very old fashioned (Alma, Oscar, Helen, Ann and Patrick) to more modern names (Erika, Abby, Kirk, Mandy and Taylor). The names have to fit the time.
It drives me crazy when a name doesn't fit the time! Like there will be someone my age or older with a really "new" name... and I get annoyed because I know that no parents in their right mind would have named their kid that when I was a baby. It really takes away from the enjoyment of the story, I think! 8)

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Post by kezzstar24 » 22 Dec 2014, 03:45

I have several methods of naming, drawing from either random name generators or people I know. I like to mix it up.

Although for my latest one my characters sort of named themselves. I was just writing my first draft when one of the main characters said "My name is Belle." I was just like "Okay then, you can be Belle." The other characters got there names in a similar fashion, although a few had be randomly generated.

I really need to be locked up lol

EDIT: Just as a side note, when I started self-publishing (probably shot myself in the foot there) I hired someone to draw a frame from each chapter to go at the beginning of the chapter. When I first saw my characters in front of me I knew they had all gotten the right names. Belle looks like a Belle, Charlie looks like a Charlie, Peter looks like a Peter, Daniel looks like a Daniel etc.

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Post by Brandi Noelle » 27 Oct 2017, 00:42

I let the names come to me. I find if I don't focus on it too hard, a name will naturally come to mind. It's usually spot-on. I have had a couple of times where the name was perfect for the character, but too similar to another character's name. For example, my main character called her grandmother "Nonna," but then there was another character I had named "Nora." She was such a Nora, was the perfect name for her and I was attached. But I could see where the reader could get confused by the names being too close. I finally settled on changing "Nora" to "Meara," but I'm still not thrilled with it. She will always be Nora to me.

Sometimes I will figure out what year the character was born (or thereabouts) and I will look up the most popular baby names for that year. That can help in naming a character. I have also used online name generators. Behind the Name is a great website that allows you to choose a character's ethnicity and it will suggest culturally appropriate names. I used the website a lot when writing a story that took place in Ireland, and it helped me to name my characters authentic Irish names, while avoiding the names that were too complicated to pronounce or read.

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