Things I Learned From Writing A Book: Picking Character Names

By: Devon Rowe | November 23, 2015

Here we go. I’m sure you all are expecting some grand, in-depth insights on the best way to come up with perfect, well-rounded character names that will one day become household names.

Well, I got nothing.

Not that I want to be a sourpuss, but I’ve found that, in my own experiences, the tactics that one person may use just might not work for someone else.

For me, it took about three full days of brainstorming and scouring six baby name books, and countless baby naming websites to come up with my main characters name in The Abnormals! And do you know what all that research ultimately did for me in the end? Nothing! I didn’t pick a single one of the names, simply because none really jumped out at me. What it really came down to was just thinking logically. I know that extraordinary and more uncommon names like Pim, or Persephone, or Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore seem like these fantastic whimsical names for a main character but the fact of the matter was that they didn’t fit my story.

My main character is an American that was born in Italy. His parents were American, and (supposedly) a typical family of the 21st century, therefore Merlin wouldn’t make sense.

(Not that weird names like Araya Sunshine and Situation doesn’t exist in real life!)

I chose a name that fit the characters story and heritage. I did research on what names were popular in my characters culture and went with that. Does that mean another author can’t name their character: will.i.am.not?

No.

I guess the moral of the story is to just pick a name however you want, whether it came in a dream, popped up on television, or was straight from a book. As long as you don’t completely despise it a few days later it’s a success.

The character makes the name; the name does not make the character.

– Laura Michelle Thomas

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