The Name Game

 

first-names

What’s in a name? Well let me tell you, a lot, think about this for a minute; what if when your character grows up he/she doesn’t like the name, he/she was given. Naming your characters is like naming your child, really it is…

When choosing a name you have to make sure it fits so to speak, you also have to make sure the name you give your MC fits the time period your story is set in. For example, Florence, great name right?(Works for Mrs. Brady), but think about how old she is and when you say the name what comes to mind?  It’s not a name you would give a seventeen year old MC who lives on Mars in the year 2050, a names like Jayden or Zoe are good options for a modern MC, not one that may have been used in 19th century England though (a possibility , but I doubt it), so stick with the times when looking for names.

Names are just one of the things readers remember, a reader will never say main character or the girl, and they will refer to the MC as Bella or Katniss, Harry Potter or my current fictional crush Jamie Fraser. Readers will, of course remember the story because it’s what makes the characters. However, imagine after investing all that time in your novel, you start the editing, rewriting process and even though the names in it fit the times, you start to realize it doesn’t fit your MC. It can happen after all, you’ve heard people say that when they have babies they have names in mind but until they meet the child, they truly don’t know what name they will give them. It’s happened to me, for the last six months of my first pregnancy my son was going to be Tomas, but when I met him all I saw was my Mattias, (my last option on a list that consisted of three names). I ended up giving my second baby the first option and my third the second name on my very short list.

Again, there is not a whole lot of difference when creating characters. Make a list of two or three names and I say three because your options are endless it can get overwhelming, you want to concentrate on your writing not names. Trust me when I say you can get stuck on the name but you can always leave it until a later time, when you have a small list try them out, see what name“fits”. As for surnames, well that shouldn’t be so difficult, for the simple reason that surnames span centuries and can pretty much be used for any time period, however make sure the surname fits the first name, if you come up with a name like Washington Perez, there better be a good reason why you chose that…

Baby name sites are an amazing option, I use them a lot, but even then, I don’t always have names jump out at me. I also pay attention to the credits at the end of a movie, loads of names rolling over the screen. Sometime it’s a name I here in the street, but like I said, it can be overwhelming, so tell yourself this, it’s your baby you’re naming  and just like any new parent you want the perfect name don’t you…

 

What’s sources do you use for naming your characters?

Do you use family members for inspiration?

 

 

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