Naming Characters


Naming characters can be a challenge. Here is how I handle naming characters.

I start by fitting the name to the genre and tying it to my character. Since I write fantasy, I pick some made up names and some common names. Possibly today’s names but with a little different spelling.

One trick I have is listing a bunch of syllables together. Like Thor-ein, Fli-prisn, Veri-kan. Sometimes they end up as names for people, places, or groups of people or creatures. Some sounds are harsher than others, and some slip off the tongue. (I’m finding this by teaching my three year old phonics.)


Extra tips:

Try saying names out loud, to see if they are easily pronounced.

Will reading the name trip up the reader? Pausing the reader can lose them.

Name characters with enough differences in their names. Not: Simon, Shane, Sally, Sharon, and so on. Or even Rob, Bob, or Ron. It helps to keep characters apart and not blend together, again being a potential trip up of the reader and losing them.

Warning: too many hard-to-pronounce, made up names in one book can really lose the reader. It can be difficult to remember unfamiliar names.

Finally, an old standby is picking up a baby book and searching in there. These are convenient because some of them even have the meanings and origins of names.

How do you pick your character’s names?


2 thoughts on “Naming Characters

    • lifewritermegan

      Agreed. I think of The Lord of the Rings names and places and how they fit just right. The Harry Potter world does it so well too. Seeing what the super successful authors do is a great way to learn. Thanks for the input!

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