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Sunday, July 15, 2012

How To Come Up With Character Names

Good character names are important but don't stress yourself out or rack your brains trying to come up with character names. Keep it simple.

Many writers have their own formulas for coming up with names for fictional characters, but if you don't have your own system for creating character names for your novel or short story, maybe these tips might help spark some ideas...

1. Use a baby name book. Many of these books also tell you what the name means so you can choose a name relative to your characters' personality and/or traits.

2. Check your junk mail or spam for names. Make a list and copy and save the names you think you might like for fictional characters in your story. You can also interchange the first and last names.

3. For science fiction characters, use the names (or part of the names) of mythical gods, societies, groups, etc. You could also take one syllable words and put them together to make multi-syllable names with them.

4. Use acronyms. Just add vowels and consonants or remove vowels or consonants to create names.

5. Look in books of wisdom to find powerful names and common names that people can relate to.

6. Use parts of foreign names and words for character names.

7. Depending on the time period you're writing about, you may want to search for similar names by looking at names from a similar time.

8. Biographies can also help with names - old old names and new names.

9. Don't think that every name has to be original. Your character may have gotten his or her name from a celebrity like Cher, or Rick James, or Betty Davis, or Bill Gates, or Donald King.

10. You can also get venue names or the names of certain places and neighborhoods from objects or plants. Or, you could use certain street names for that purpose.

Whatever you do keep it simple. Focus on writing your masterpiece.

And, remember: If you don't like the name, you can always change it later.