How do you decide on character names?
It always takes me forever to find the right name. Sometimes I can search for weeks, and I can’t stop until I find the name that fits. With the last novel I was renaming characters even up to the last draft and I suspect I’ll have to rename a couple more in the next pass. Sometimes it’s the sound of the name that I like, other times its the meaning, but usually it’s a combination of both.
I try to avoid names that belong to family/friends unless it’s intentional. I also usually sometimes do a search of main characters names to see if I’m using a name that happens to belong to someone famous, which is ok. I’ll also try to avoid too many names with the same first letter to avoid confusion.
If I am looking for a name from a specific culture, I will do a search to see if a first/last name combination is plausible, as some surnames may be tied to only a certain region in a country, or combined have a different meaning than one name alone. If find a long list of people with the same name combination, it will likely be fine.
Some great places to find names beyond baby names websites? The closing credits of movies are a gold mine! The crew is a great place to find names (not just actors). Foreign movies, and international sports teams are also lists I search.
Do you have a method to your madness? How do you pick character names? Do you have any name resources you want to share?
And Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends! Today’s a day typically marked by backyard BBQ’s and beer. Around here, the highways and ferries are busy as Canadians head out of the city to do some long weekend camping, or head south to the US for cross border shopping.
I think that to celebrate I’m just going to chill, do some writing, and maybe some napping. 😀