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karladavisio Karla Davisio Writers often have trouble coming up with names for their characters. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to invent great character names.
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How To Create Character Names For Your Next Novel

Writers often have trouble coming up with names for their characters. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to invent great character names.

1. Look up some options

Find any list of names - good places to look include the credits of a movie or TV show, a telephone book, old school yearbooks, and anything with a "college paper writing service contributors" list. Then, it's just a matter of mixing and matching until you find something you like.

2. Research

Check out some of the great online baby name websites - you can find them for any culture, for first or last names, and even some that will come up with both for you. You can even pick a name that means something in particular.

3. Recycle a name

Name your character after someone you know or admire, or even hate. Be careful not to use their complete name, however, so you don't end up with a lawsuit!



4. Make something up

If you can't find a name you like, or if you want to name those space aliens, try writing a line of poetry or a song lyric without any spaces, like "ohsaycanyouseebythedawnsearlylight." Pick and choose likely looking names from the letter-string, such as Aycan or Heda or Lyl.

5. Listen

Don't just write down your names - pronounce them out loud. Sometimes a name looks fine on paper, butwhen you say it, it sounds humorous or confusing or even raunchy. "Shatoria Brixon" might look nice, but it sounds a bit like someone is excreting construction materials.

6. Pronounce

Unless you're writing about science fiction aliens, your readers should be able to pronounce the names of your characters. Have a friend read the names out loud for you - if they have trouble, so will most of your readers. Don't try to be cute: spell the names in the traditional manner, or spell them phonetically so that they sound out what you want them to say.



7. Pay attention to time

Names go in and out of style, and you can ruin a story by having a character whose name is anachronistic. For example, you're not going to find many women in the American Old West named Trinity or Katelynn. Look up the most popular names of the time period when you're doing your research.

8. Pay attention to ethnicity

Here's another good place to do some research. Every culture has its own popular names, and unless you've got a good reason for it, your characters should have names that match their heritage. In a modern city, for example, you might find a character named Joshua Wu, but you wouldn't expect it in a rural Minnesota village.

9. Check out the meaning

Be sure that the name you fall in love with doesn't mean something rude, hilarious, or raunchy in another language! Do your research before you settle on anything.

10. Avoid repetition

Check to be sure that you don't have too many characters with similar sounding names, or with the same initials, or with rhyming names.


Once you get the hang of it, you'll likely come up with your own way of naming characters. One writer picks random pages of a dictionary to come up with words, then combines them into unique names. In the end, it only matters that you end up with names that suit your characters.

March 19, 2020, 8:45 a.m. 0 Report Embed 0
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