One of the hardest parts of being a creative writer (aside from editing) is finding names for your characters. So many times my characters get stuck with nicknames like "The Nameless One" or "Mr. Missionary II" or "Quintin's Brother's Son" at some point during the plotting process, and it's not 'till about two days before I start writing that I realize that I forgot to give them actual names. Anyone feel me?
Thankfully, there are ways to avoid this writerly problem.
The first, only, and definitely most effective method is to just remember to get it done before you start writing—like I do most of the time. "Okay, well that's fine and good," you say, "But what if I'm a first-timer? How exactly do I go about this?"
Visit baby name websites. Yeah, I know. You aren't naming a baby, but they are infinitely the most helpful thing out there. Since I mostly write in the Fantasy genre, this is my favorite: Top 100 Medieval Baby Names. It has a treasure trove of medieval boy and girl names. This is another good site for medieval names.
If you're not writing Fantasy or don't want medieval names, here are a few others that I've visited in the past for different writing projects.
• Nameberry (This site has names of all kinds, origins, themes and meanings).
• Parenting (This link takes you to the nature-themed names page).
• My Pinterest Board (This link takes you to my Names Pinterest board, which has names of all origins and meanings).
Also, I've made a few lists right here on my website just for writerly purposes:
• Male and Female English names
• Male and Female Hebrew names
• Male and Female Irish names
• Male and Female Norwegian names
"Great," you say, "Now I know where to find the names, but how do I pick one?" Well, my first advice is to relax, and the sooner you get on it, the more you can. At the same time... don't! You have to take the job of naming your characters seriously enough that you don't end up with a name you hate. A lot of times I'll look at a name and think, "Ugh, why would I ever use that one for this character?" But it sticks in my head, and the ones I thought I would like I end up forgetting, so I use the one I remember, because I remembered it for a reason.
Other times, I look for names based on meaning. For example, my character Quintin. He was to be the youngest child, the fifth son in his family. Quintin means exactly that: "fifth born." This, however, is the hardest way to name a character, because it's often difficult to find a name that means what you need it to, and still sounds and looks attractive.
Going off the above two paragraphs, here's an example of what not to do: I once named a character Brainard for the sole reason that he was a prince and that's what the name meant. Don't ever do that. (Unless of course you really like the name Brainard for some reason—I don't. And if you happen to be named Brainard, my apologies. It's nothing personal).
So there you have it! That's how I name my characters. If you do it a different way, or have comments or questions, I'd love to hear from you in the section below. Thanks for reading!
Welcome to Katelyn Buxton Books! I'm a Christian author and blogger, with a passion for writing stories that are not just enjoyable, but also lead people closer to Jesus. Feel free to look around, and enjoy your stay!