Here it is, my first post of 2015. The first month of the year is almost up, and I’ve already done really good progress on my book. I’m working on the sequel to Dream Date. But that’s stuff to talk about another time. For this post, I wanted to write about book character names. For beginner writers, and people not in this business, naming a character sounds like a piece of cake. Sometimes, though, it gets more complicated than that.
Picking a name for your characters is one of the most important decisions you can make concerning your book. I’d argue that well-named characters are more important than a great book title—especially for the protagonists. If your characters gain a huge fan following, you don’t want to regret the names that you gave them. For instance, did you know that Hermione Granger’s beta name was Hermione Puckle? It doesn’t sound quite right…right?
Most of the time, you can simply come up with name combinations out of your head. It’s no biggie. As you start writing more books and creating more characters, it gets trickier. For starters, you’ve got to make sure that no famous book or movie character shares your own character’s name. Just head to Google for that. Also, you don’t want your character’s name to be that of a relatively famous person, even if they’re dead. As I said before, you should take extra care with your protagonists. A great name can go a long way.
On the other hand, you don’t have to get too meticulous with names. Not like in the Harry Potter books, where most of the character’s names have special significance. If you want your character’s names to be significant, you can search for their meaning online. Behind the Name is a good site for that. It’s also a great resource if you need a list of names. If you need an automated tool to create names for you, there’s the Random Name Generator and the Last Name Generator. Incidentally, those are also great tools to come up with your pen name, if you wish to use one. If you’re going down that road, I’d run the name through this site. The fewer people that share your author name, the fewer people that can claim to be you. I haven’t found a site like it for the U.K. or other countries, but there should be one.
How do you name your own characters? Personally, I often pick names out of my head. Sometimes I also rely on lists of first and last names. Whichever names you choose, make sure you don’t forget them! The spelling matters. If you can’t remember how to spell a particular character’s name, your readers could lose their trust in you.