Tech Writing

19 Methods & Tips for Naming Characters Step-by-Step

character names

Your character names have the power to rework the notion readers have of your e-book and story.

If you consider it…character names are literally a selected literary system you need to use most sneakily.

And if you need readers to like, adore, and care in your most important character, giving them one of the best and most memorable identify could make all of the distinction.

character namescharacter names

Use these strategies for naming characters in your guide:

  1. Utilizing child identify web sites
  2. The Root-Which means technique
  3. Mash-up character naming technique
  4. The Add-on technique
  5. Develop-First naming technique
  6. Making character names up from scratch
  7. Naming-by-era technique
  8. Utilizing similar-to-real-life names
  9. 11 ideas for getting character names proper

NOTE:Are you prepared to offer your characters an actual house? Take a look at our VIP Fundamentals of Fiction and Storytelling Self-Publishing Program to find out how.
Study extra about it right here

Naming Characters Deliberately: Why Character Names Matter

Character names have the facility to rework your reader’s notion of your character totally.

Let’s use the instance of names from The right way to Practice Your Dragon, the animated movie.

Character identify instance: Hiccup

Why this character identify issues: This identify is extraordinarily becoming to the kind of character Hiccup is. The rationale for a foolish, “weak” identify like it’s because that’s what the creators need you to think about if you hear the identify. They need you to have low expectations in order that when this character rises above, the emotional impression is way higher than if he had a typical “hero” identify.

You need to use this similar ideology for villains. One particularly with a well-known identify is from Harry Potter.

Character identify instance: Lord Voldemort

Why this character identify issues: From the start, Rowling crafted this identify to be foreboding. In truth, this character himself selected the identify due to that. Because the writer, you possibly can craft your villain’s identify based mostly in your intentions. If you’d like readers to underestimate them, select a foolish identify like Bob. However if you need readers to worry the wrath of your villain, select a extra becoming identify like Lord Voldemort.

Character Identify Turbines

Should you’re in search of the straightforward means out and would slightly another person do the work in naming your characters, there are instruments on-line for that.

Listed here are a number of the prime character identify turbines:

  1. Character Identify Generator – This one lets you fill in a number of totally different defining elements so as to produce a personality identify that matches your character greatest.
  2. Fantasy Identify Generator – Are you writing a fantasy novel and wish some character identify concepts? This generator presents a number of totally different choices for theme-based character names in your fantasy e-book.
  3. Identify Generator for Enjoyable – With this one, you possibly can select from a number of classes, like villain names, rap names, superhero names, and extra.
  4. Identify Generator – This character identify generator additionally provides you choices to slender in on particulars about your character for a extra becoming identify. Nevertheless, this one has extra real-life names than uniquely created, so it might serve higher for those who’re writing within the modern e-book style.
  5. Author’s Character Identify Generator – Whereas very random, this one may can help you come upon your subsequent primary character’s identify.

Find out how to Come Up With Character Names

Naming your characters is among the greatest and scariest elements of writing a novel.

Utilizing one in every of these strategies will assist ease the method whereas offering larger high quality remaining outcomes.

#1 – Child Identify Web sites

One of the fashionable strategies of arising with new character names is to fake they’re your child…actually!

Child naming web sites have been serving up characer names for writers for years.

Oftentimes, these web sites even supply identify meanings, trending names, and even names that have been widespread doing totally different years.

Listed here are some nice child identify web sites to find your characters’ names:

#2 – Root-Which means Technique

Welcome to the most typical, tried-and-true technique to call characters in books.

Individuals use this technique in real-life to call their youngsters, too!

The basis-meaning technique merely refers to utilizing a core which means or perception and even origin of a reputation for symbolism in your ebook.

Listed here are some examples of this:

  • Tobias Kaya in The Savior’s Champion: His identify means “goodness” and could be very a lot meant to align with who his character is and his position within the collection.
  • Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings: Little do most individuals know, the identify Frodo originated from the previous English phrase “fród,” which interprets to “sensible by expertise.”
  • Katniss Everdeen in Starvation Video games: This ebook’s writer actually took the identify which means critically when crafting her primary character. Katniss is a plant within the genus Sagittaria, which roughly interprets from Latin as “archer.”

You possibly can simply discover the meanings of names by venturing to child naming web sites. It’s also possible to sort in a reputation you wish to Google and it’ll often pop up.

#three – The Mash-Up

Certainly one of my private favourite methods of making new names is to easily mash real-life names collectively till I discover one thing that’s real-sounding but in addition distinctive to my world and characters.

This technique of arising with character names is best discovered by way of seeing than a easy rationalization:

Josh and Riley = Joley, Jile, Rosh, Rishe

Casey and Michael = Cachel, Cachael, Casel, Misey, Miche, Michey, Masey

Emily and Rochelle = Emelle, Echelle, Romil, Romily, Rochil, Rocily

Clearly, some mixtures can be higher than others, however this can be a fast approach to generate new however reasonable character names.

Right here’s the step-by-step breakdown for methods to create easy character names with this technique:

  1. Select or discover 2 real-life names
  2. Match them aspect by aspect
  3. Take the primary half of the primary identify and blend and mach it with the final half of the second identify
  4. Repeat step three however vice versa
  5. You must have an inventory of a number of totally different sounding names
  6. Select a couple of to maintain that you simply like
  7. Repeat this course of with a number of pairs till you have got a roster of character names to select from

#four – The Add-On

This technique is tremendous just like the earlier technique however with extra freedom.

That is one other private favourite and the way I handle to provide you with cool and fascinating names which are additionally distinctive to my story.

As an alternative of taking two names and matching the start of 1 with the top of the opposite, merely select actual names and swap out the endings or add on to them utterly.

Right here’s what this seems to be like…

Rebecca = Rebera, Rebilla, Rebyr, Rebine, Reborra

Taylor = Tayr, Tayora, Tayrin, Taysila, Tayserra

Cory = Corrin, Corel, Coreesa, Coryn, Corros, Cortsa, Corta

John = Johva, Johrrin, Johk, Johrey

The steps for this one are fairly apparent. Select a random real-life identify and easily swap out the endings for a mixture you create by yourself.

I all the time attempt to do various mixtures, remembering that double consonants work properly, as does altering the size of the vowel sounds by including or altering these letters.

I do that typically and hold a spreadsheet with names I like, as within the picture under.

character name listcharacter name list

#5 – Develop-First Naming

Typically selecting a personality’s identify too early will make you subconsciously develop that character into somebody who matches that identify.

This may be dangerous when you want that particular character to behave and behave in a sure means.

With this character naming technique, you’ll develop your character in full first after which select their identify. The rationale for that is to make sure you’ll write that character with intention.

For instance: within the Harry Potter collection, the temper tends to be extra critical. Rowling created Ron Weasley as comedic aid. Whereas Ron is far more than that, the intention continues to be for him to be a goofy, humorous character.

The identify “Ron Weasley” was then given to help this improvement.

Had she named him a extra critical identify like Reginald, Theodore, or Christopher, crafting these scenes might have been very totally different.

The identical could be stated for an additional character referred to as Draco Malfoy. This identify is way extra darkish than it’s humorous, which is becoming for his character.

The steps for this character naming technique are easy:

  1. Obtain and fill out this character improvement worksheet.
  2. Perceive your character’s position within the story. Would you like them to be critical, humorous, foolish, foreboding?
  3. Listing names that make you are feeling the best way of your intentions.
  4. Ask good friend and household to inform you what every identify makes them consider personality-wise.
  5. Slender down your decisions to three and ask one other group.
  6. Determine on the best-fitting identify.

#6 – Make Them Up

If you wish to have 100% distinctive character names (like Lhonniadreah, a personality within the ebook I’m writing, Lhonni for brief), you’ve acquired to get artistic.

However you’re a author, so you understand how to get artistic.

This specific technique doesn’t have many guidelines.

Primarily, you possibly can merely assume up a random identify. Maybe you will have a base or a starting that you simply like.

For instance, my full unique identify for the character talked about above was Lhonni. However I felt her character wanted an extended identify to suit with the normal fashion of the names in her tradition.

Secondly, I made a decision to tug from the widespread letter match-ups this tradition sees typically. On this case, the mixtures of the “dr” sound with lengthy vowels is common.

I went on to create a number of mixtures of potential full names:

  • Lhonnidray
  • Lhonniyadra
  • Lhonniodrin
  • Lhonnidra

Finally, the identify I selected greatest match her as a personality, and I made a decision afterward that her mom’s identify can be “Dreah,” in order that her identify is a namesake that’s in widespread format for the tradition I created.

Right here’s how one can replicate this course of:

  1. Write down a sound or begin or finish of a reputation you want (this could be a “-ly” ending, an “ash-” starting, and even an “-eer-” center of a reputation.
  2. Determine if you need the identify to carry any vital which means the best way mine does. This doesn’t should be the identical which means. You possibly can even discover base phrases in English or Latin to make use of.
  3. Consider any world-specific cultural influences on the identify. Your world constructing expands to even your character’s identify. Don’t overlook this! (In case your ebook takes place on this world, take into consideration household spellings and such in its place)
  4. Create an inventory with a number of totally different variations and variations. Keep in mind your character’s identify can tackle very totally different meanings and intentions based mostly on the sound (and look!) of it.
  5. Select the identify that feels proper and embodies your intentions for the character. And let it stew for a couple of days! Now, even when your character is courageous and powerful, like within the Hiccup instance, utilizing a less-than-obvious identify can present a singular notion that fosters a greater response later.

#7 – Identify-by-era

One of many largest errors you can also make is unintentionally destroying your reader’s suspension of disbelief by naming a personality one thing wildly out of the abnormal for a time interval.

naming charactersnaming characters

When you’re writing historic fiction or only a story from 10-15 years in the past, you need to ensure that your names are practical for the time interval.

This trick can also be useful if you wish to give your out-of-the-real-world novel a selected time period vibe.

Listed here are some assets for child names by period:

#eight – Utilizing comparable however totally different actual names

Probably the most well-known writer who makes use of this technique is George R.R. Martin in his notorious collection Recreation of Thrones.

What Martin did with a purpose to give this epic fantasy collection lifelike however medieval sounding names is just alter just some letters in a reputation.

Listed here are some examples of names from Recreation of Thrones with extra widespread actual names:

  • Gregor — Gregory
  • Joffrey — Jeffery
  • Brienne — Brianne
  • Theon — Theo / Theodore
  • Petyr — Peter
  • Jorah — Jonah
  • Gilly — Lilly
  • Podrick — Rodrick

Martin has a means of utterly reworking these very similar-to-real-life names into one thing with each a. fantastical and medieval twist to be able to additional transport us to his world.

In fact Recreation of Thrones additionally options utterly distinctive names like Daenerys and Tyrion together with real-life names like Robert and Jon. Martin makes use of this mix to his benefit—and you may too!

Prime Ideas for Naming Characters in Your Guide

Regardless of which technique you select for naming your characters, you’ll want a couple of tricks to make it simpler.

Listed here are one of the best ideas for naming guide characters with intention.

#1 – Keep in mind, size issues

That is notably true in case you have a number of characters who will work together with each other repeatedly.

When you have all very lengthy names, your reader can be exhausted.

You don’t need that…

What you do need is a reader who doesn’t need to give attention to the pronunciation or longevity of a number of character names.

Utilizing a mixture of lengthy, brief, and medium size names will permit your readers to learn simpler to allow them to focus extra on visualizing what’s occurring.

Right here’s an instance of this with names from my work in progress:

This mix permits a number of of those characters to be in the identical scene with out exhausting or complicated the reader.

#2 – Maintain nicknames in thoughts

You should use your character’s identify as a plot system should you actually needed to.

Perhaps the reveal of your essential character’s full identify is necessary to the story and your character has solely been referred to as by a nickname their entire life.

Nicknames can even function a option to present and never inform inside your writing as nicely. These near your character are extra possible to make use of a nickname and subsequently, you don’t should dumb as a lot exposition to ensure that them to study.

Simply make sure that the nickname can also be becoming and never too just like different characters’ names.

#three – Ensure that the identify matches the character

We’ve already talked about this tip a variety of occasions nevertheless it’s value mentioning once more.

In case your character’s identify could be very, very ill-fitting, it should stand out in a nasty method to readers.

For this reason getting suggestions and understanding your character absolutely is so very important for the naming course of.

#four – Make sure that the identify matches the setting

The place your story takes place can change the names you employ on your characters.

What’s the situation?

Does your story happen in a chilly, harsh local weather or in a dry, hotter setting?

The situation issues as a result of the names used might help improve or take away from the temper you’re making an attempt to create inside that setting.

For instance, harsher climates are likely to pair properly with curt, quipped names to reflect this. However if you would like your character on this particular place to face out, you may give them a reputation that’s ill-fitting to be able to concentrate on this distinction.

An excellent instance of that is Ygritte from Recreation of Thrones. But once more, George R.R. Martin has named somebody who lives in a troublesome, gritty surroundings with an appropriate identify that provides off this vibe.

character name examplecharacter name example

What are the cultural influences?

As talked about in a couple of of the following pointers, tradition performs a big position in your characters’ names.

Does your tradition, whether or not you make it up or it’s actual, affect your character’s identify in any method?

For instance, in a sure tradition in my work in progress, names can typically be namesakes. Nevertheless, as an alternative of merely naming a child the complete identify of whomever they’d wish to honor, they add the identify to the beginning of one other.

Lhonnidra is a standard identify in a sure place of my e-book. Nevertheless, her mom Dreah died. Her father then named her after her mom, however on this world, that may translate to Lhonniadreah as an alternative of simply “Dreah.”

Ask your self if there are any cultural influences and if there isn’t (and also you’re utterly making up this world), be happy so as to add some!

What’s the meant time interval?

Even when your ebook takes locations in a totally totally different world, you possibly can nonetheless permit readers to get a way of the meant time interval you’re going for with the names you employ.

For this technique, use previous victorian names or names from medieval occasions as a base when additionally utilizing one other technique for arising with a singular identify.

Victorian identify instance: Emaline

Created for a singular world whereas sustaining the identical vibe: Emarise

You’ll be able to tweak the names till you discover one thing that feels proper.

#5 – Think about how every identify sounds

There are a number of literary parts that contact on the best way comparable or contrastingly totally different sounds can play into the attractiveness of writing.

Though most individuals don’t learn novels out loud, until they’re studying to their youngsters, all of us nonetheless have a voice in our head that’s “out loud.”

And that voice is drawn to names that sound interesting.

This could typically be a subjective factor when arising with character names, however you possibly can in all probability acknowledge names that sound good versus names that sound dangerous.

However you may also use this to your benefit for additional character improvement as properly.

“Ugly” sounding names are a fantastic match for characters you’d like your viewers to interpret as simply that. It’s all about what intention you’ve gotten for that character.

An instance of that is the identify James Bond. I feel we will all agree this can be a nice sounding, robust identify that matches the character properly.

#6 – Get suggestions on the names

Different individuals are a greater decide of the primary impression of a personality identify just because it’s recent for them.

Enlist 7-10 individuals you will get suggestions from in terms of these names.

Ship the identify together with 2 sentences describing the character (bodily and character) and ask them in the event that they sound like they match.

Oftentimes, we’d actually like names which might be exhausting to learn or pronounce for brand spanking new readers. In that case, you’ll need to drawback remedy for an answer.

#7 – Don’t be afraid to go loopy with it

That is your ebook! That is your world and in case you have names which are slightly on the market, that’s okay!

The one cause you’d need to reel within the craziness is that if the names are too complicated for readers to simply comprehend and keep in mind.

No one needs a personality whose identify individuals overlook when speaking concerning the guide. In any case, characters are one of many first issues raving followers gush about with a brand new e-book they love.

That being stated, don’t be afraid of making your personal names in your personal world. Actual-life mother and father make up names for his or her youngsters day by day. You are able to do the identical on your characters.

#eight – Create cultural similarities in your world

That is primarily for authors writing in a singular world they make up on their very own.

Totally different cultures and languages have very totally different names and customary methods to spell and pronounce these names.

Right here’s a fast instance of a number of names from reverse websites of the world in my story:

Doyen Falls

  • Essadra
  • Vhie
  • Dailan
  • Lhonniadreah
  • Riddick
  • Ket


  • Nimah
  • Yarai
  • Déron
  • Creïdon
  • Ghe
  • Anahi

In case your characters are from very totally different areas, the names ought to mirror that, identical to in life.

#9 – Keep away from utilizing already-popular ebook character names

Utilizing the identify “Harry” or “Katniss” isn’t the perfect concept. A minimum of…not if you need your characters to be remembered as your characters.

With notorious names, it’ll be very exhausting to set your character (and subsequently, your e-book) aside.

If you wish to use a reputation and aren’t positive if it’s in one other tremendous common ebook, simply do a Google seek for “Identify in ebook” and if it doesn’t populate a really particular end result, you’re within the clear.

#10 – Keep away from comparable names in case your character is predicated on somebody you recognize

All writers draw inspiration from the actual world. They’re mendacity if they are saying in any other case.

BUT, should you do base a personality on somebody you recognize in actual life (which we advocate you modify sufficient that they wouldn’t know anyway), don’t use a reputation that’s comparable for the character.

This will make individuals really feel very uncomfortable, to not point out it’ll be that rather more apparent to outsiders who know you.

#11 – Convey your characters to life

Don’t simply identify your characters and depart them to exist solely in your creativeness and future conversations of pals or household asking you for those who’ve completed your guide but.

Give them a world by ending and even publishing your e-book.

We’ve acquired some ideas that will help you with that on this free video coaching.

Save your spot by signing up under!

Be a part of Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Coaching as he reveals the precise techniques and methods he used to put in writing and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and the way he used them to construct a 7-figure enterprise in lower than 2 years!

Spots are restricted!

Click on Right here to Save Your Spot

What are character names in books you LOVE and what are some you possibly can’t stand?