Welcome to the Big Reveal
I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them.
How do you find your character names?
Jenny Morris, Agented Author
For the MC I usually start with what the character is supposed to stand for. Then I Google names that mean that. Other names are just ones that I discovered I really liked and wanted to use. I haven’t created my own name yet.
Lynne Schmidt, Un-Agented Author
I HATE NAMING CHARACTERS! Half the time I’ll text my friends or call out on twitter, ‘I need a male name! I need a female name!’ It’s rare I actually name my own characters because I’m so bad at it. Actually my first two novels don’t have MC names at all, I wrote around them. 🙂
Theresa Paulo, Agented Author
I have a list of names in Excel. Every time I need a name I go to it and scroll, close my eyes and then stop and wherever my finger points is the name. But if it doesn’t click then I keep doing it until one finally does. Because you know if a name will work or not. When I was writing my ms that took place in the 1920’s I researched popular names of the time my characters would have been born and chose from that list. Google is my best friend. 🙂
Mindi Scott, Published Author
The names of the main characters come to me from I don’t know where. I’m very strict about making sure that the names in each of my books don’t start with the same first letters and that they are a variety of lengths, etc. I know that real life that names don’t work like that, but I want to make it easy for readers to keep track of who is who.
Steph Campbell, Published Author
I start with the list of names that I loved for my children that my husband veto’d and if nothing feels right from there, I peruse baby naming sites.
Christa Desir, Pre-Published Author
I haven’t created any names, and honestly, I usually use names of people I know. It’s kind of fun because then my teen betas are all, “Hey, you used my name!” and they LOVE it. 🙂
Dahlia Adler, Agented Author
For my current ms, because it’s a redux, I used names that were similar to the original but fit better in a contemporary YA context. Usually, though, I just choose first names I think fit the character that haven’t been used in other mss of mine. I don’t really create names – I think that’s more of a fantasy thing than a contemporary thing – but for another ms of mine I did give the MC a name I’d never heard used for a girl before, because I wanted her to have something unusual and I had a specific nickname in mind. It turned out to have the perfect meaning for her too, but I have to admit that was just a happy coincidence.
Where do you get your character’s names from?