Sometimes when you're naming a character, the name will simply pop into your head. Even when you find yourself this lucky, however, you may still need to do some research to make sure your name is accurate. And if you can't figure out a name, there are plenty of resources out there that can help you. Here are some tips and places you can go to help you figure out those pesky character names.
- Once you've figured out your character's full name, Google it. You want to make sure it doesn't belong to a well known character or a famous person.
- Make sure your character's name fits their ethnicity, especially their last name. If you haven't figured out your character's ethnicity, do some research on their physical traits to figure out where they could have come from.
- Also make sure the name you've chosen would actually be used in the time period your book is set.
- Check out name meanings to find something that reflects your character's personality, or just for that added bit of symbolism (there may be an entire post on this subject in the future...)
My Favorite Resources
- Behind the Name: My absolute favorite name site. Each name entry includes the meaning as well as where the name came from and what cultures use it. You can also look up names from Ancient and Medieval times, as well as mythology. And check out their separate site for surnames!
- Nametrends.net: This site allows you to look up a name and see how popular it has been in different years. It also includes US maps to show which states the names have been popular in.
- Fake Name Generator: This site generates a random name with an added bonus of an entire identity, including address, email, and mother's maiden name. It also lets you choose what culture/ethnicity you'd like the name to come from.
- Fantasy Name Generators: This site will create a fantasy name for every fantasy series, and can also come up with names for pretty much everything else you could imagine--places, pets, band names (wait a second! I'll be over here for a while...)
What sort of research do you do when naming a character? Have any favorite naming sites?