Writing group

5 ways to name your characters, because you gotta call them something.


One of the first hurdles when writing a story is coming up with those pesky character names. It can be a difficult thing to do, trying to find the perfect name to match.

I’ve gone through three names changes for my protagonist in Nephilim. She was Cadence, then Olivia and now she’s Aly. This was because as I read back, I didn’t like how the name fit with the character or the story.

But while it may be difficult to think of a good name and stick with it, there are lots of ways you can go about this to make it a little easier.


  1. Baby name book.

I always use a baby name website to find names for my characters. Usually I’ll have a personality idea in my head and somehow think of a letter or number of syllables for the name and search through the relevant list until I find one I like.


     2. Scroll the credits

Take the time to read the names in the credits for tv shows and movies. I do this, especially when I want to find a good surname. You can find some great names hidden away in there, some of which you probably wouldn’t have even thought of.


      3. Make them mean something

Some writers want their character names to reflect personality traits or the character’s role. If your character is known for their strength you could use names such as Liam, Aaron or Valene.

Finding out the meanings of your chosen names can help inspire you, for your current novel or your next one.


     4. Make it relatable

If your story takes place in the 1920’s, then look up popular names for those years and see if any spark your interest. Those names were popular for a reason and not every character has to have a uniquie and original name. Also make sure to pay attention to the ethnicity of your character and/or their parents.


     5. Name generator:

There are plenty of name generators out there if you’re having trouble or if you want to name a couple of secondary or passing characters. Some of them can be really detailed, including choices for nationality, religion, type of character so have a look through Google to see if you can find one suitable for you.


And heres one just for fun.

      6. Button bash

For those sci-fi and fantasy writers out there, try button bashing to create some unique names. Somewhere in the line of random letters could be a fun and exciting name:

erlhesaf podjaod woeiaue = Hesaf, Jaod, Eiau’e. (Add apostrophe’s for extra creativeness.)

You just need to decide how to pronounce them.


How do you come up with your characters names?


Good thoughts and happy writing!




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