Wednesday Writings - Naming Characters
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Let's say you have this idea for a character. It's a genius idea really, and you're super excited about putting this character to life. Everything is planned out: The looks, the personality, little quirks, and train of thought. Perfect, right? Nope. You realize that you don't have a name for the character.
Finding a name for a new character is one of my favorite parts of writing. It's the last step (or the first) to creating a new person in the fantasy world. They might be super important, having to go on quests to save princesses from castles and fighting off evil dragons, or they might be a lowly peasant. Either way, every character you create is vital to your story in a different way. They need a family, and backstory, and... a name.
Readers connect with characters, and one way they do that is calling a character by their name. If you go up to a random person on a street, and start telling them about this queen who has magical ice powers and a red haired sister... The first name that will pop up in their mind is: Elsa. See? With a name, you automatically get a vision of her blue dress, white hair, and "Let it Go" theme song. (At least that is what I get :P) Names are very important for establishing connections.
To tell the truth, name hunting has gone easily for me so far. (The key part of that sentence is the "so far...") There is a reason for that. Here are some ways that I find my character's names.
1. Name Generators
http://fantasynamegenerators.com/: This is my favorite name generator. It provides hundreds of different fantasy names, ranging from elf names, villain names, and even alien names. There are also several place generators for naming villages.
http://dicelog.com/yafnag: I don't like this one nearly as much as the above, but it provides a lot more names, and you can narrow the choices down by choosing things such as: the number of letters in a name, prefix and suffix, and list of names to generate. If you want more options, this is the one to go with.
Those are the two I use most often.
2. Choosing a Name that has Meaning
For my more recent characters that I have created, I like using this method. I go onto this website: http://www.babynamespedia.com/. Instead of doing a "name search," I do a "meaning search." For example, I was trying to find a name for my dad in Faith. With the meaning search, I put in: Farmer, for that was his work, and the name Arador came up. I liked it, and there was my dad's name. I recommend trying this out, especially if you want your character's name to have a certain meaning.
3. Other Ways
Make up your own names, look through baby name books or websites, or come across a name on a grocery receipt! (That last one was how I found the name for my main character: Alynn. A grocery receipt was on our counter, and the cashier's name on it was: "Lynn." I put an A in front of it, and there was my name :)
I hope this may serve somewhat useful to you during your name finding :)
How do you find your character's names? Tell me in the comments below!