Naming Characters

Last Updated on Sun Jun 20, 2021 by JR Rioux

There are several ways to create your own names, and depending on your imagination, you might just have the name come to you. Usually, I just pull it out of my… err… it just pops up in my head, rather. But, even I draw a blank, so I have a few other methods up my sleeve. After all, names are important, and I enjoy using names that differ from what you might ordinarily see.

Creating Names Yourself

You’ve met lots of people in your life, more likely than not, and most of them have different names. Schoolmates, teachers, baby sitters, neighbors, relatives, etc. Maybe make a list of some of them (in your head or on paper). Now, play the mix and match game. Take one person’s first name and another person’s last name. Take another of someone of the same sex’s first name for a middle name if you want (depending on how naming works where your story is based). It’s quite easy and you can use it over and over.

Another option is one of my personal favorites: translations. Pick a word (or multiple separated by commas if the translator allows it) to describe an aspect of your character. Try various languages to find one you like. If you can’t, try another word and on until you find something you like. If you can’t…

Finding Names

The next option is sort of cheating, depending on your source. I like to find sites that have names specifically from their country or, my personal favorite, early name records from many hundreds of years ago. The names are usually really uncommon, and you can tweak spelling if you wish.

Another method is finding soldier rosters – like – list of soldiers who died in WWII or Vietnam POW/MIA/Died. To me, it’s a way to keep them alive in some small way. A tribute, you might say. Another suggestion – list of dead 9/11, or even looking at the center for missing children (or equivalent in your country). List of Titanic passengers/dead. Any major event in the last 150 years or so pretty well has a record somewhere. Honor a local police/firefighter/EMT/private citizen, either alive or dead, who make an impact on the community. I would recommend against choosing a big name, mixing it up with another’s, or use their birth name for those who use stage names.

The most common and easiest way are those baby name sites. There are, like… hundreds of them. Surnames are just as easy. Do a google search and you will see numerous links. I’ve used this method a few times, and I find it super easy. It’s almost the easiest way there is. The only thing easier is…

Name Generators

This by far the easiest and quickest way (depending on how picky you are – I am very picky) to get a name. Sites can contain all sorts of generators, from normal names to fantasy names, countries, regions, even worlds. I cannot even begin to guess how many of them there are, because I rarely end up past the third page (it depends on if I like one site’s result or not – sometimes I just like to try something new), because most of them are pretty cool and even if you don’t like the whole name, sometimes they trigger a name based on one that’s displayed. Some will even allow you to save some you like, so you can look over them again, if you choose, or if you end up using the site regularly.

Here are just a few I pulled up on a quick search (those with asterisks have multiple types of name generators on their site – highly useful):

Masterpiece Generator
Behind the Name
** Fantasy Name Generator
** The History Shack
** Mithril and Mages
** Name Generator

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