As you will know if you’ve been following this blog, I’ve been doing a few posts on character development. Well, for today’s post, I wanted to finish that series by talking about how I come up with character names.
The truth is, it’s not hard. There are a lot of resources out there that writers can use to come up with character names, even fantasy characters like the ones I write. Baby name websites are pretty good, and while some of the names suck, there are gems among them. One of my book’s characters is named Aldric Rookwood. If my memory is serving me correctly, “Aldric” came from one of these sites (it’s French and Italian). “Rookwood,” on the other hand, comes from the Harry Potter books, and is the name of a Death Eater.
So you have two possible places you can look right there. But online and in books aren’t the only places you can find character names. Street names are good choices, as are city names (particularly in the case of last names). So, a phone book and an atlas are two places you can look. You can also steal names of people you know, and if you are writing something not taking place on earth, you can try your hand at inventing names.
Jor-El, for example, sounds like it could be the name of a dish soap, so you can always take brands of products on the shelf at Walmart and try to change it up a little to invent a completely new name. This is how I came up with the name of an elfish town in one of my stories, called “Kaja Reaz.” The bottom line is, there’re lots of tools available if you want to come up with names that are unique sounding to the reader.
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