Your name is WHAT?!

You know the feeling. You're getting a new dog or cat or kid and you can't wait to pick out the name. You spend hours pouring over name books. Days spent on the internet at random name generators. Weeks scouring through your family tree. Waiting, watching for that perfect moniker to jump out at you. Then it happens.

Rowena Marcella Robella Chihuahua Stapler Clementine E Coli Smith.

Ahhh now you can relax you've named your dog/cat/kid. But just how much thought did you put into it? What do other people think when they hear it?

Do you put more thought into naming your characters? I was about 5k into my current WIP and still had no names. Plenty of " blah blah blah" (insert hero's name here). I had a list of names I WANTED but when I tried to tie the characters into the names they just didn't fit. I've since settle of most of them but I won't be concrete about it.

Did you pick a name you LOVED and tried to make a character out of it? Only to find out Yoda already has a following?

I read a book where I couldn't pronounce the leads name. I wound up just calling her "J" but I couldn't relate to her. Maybe it was just the book but I had to conciously change her name everytime I saw it. Doing that would take me out of the story and I did NOT like that.

To me names hold a special essence. My characters' names hold that spark that makes them who they are. Strong feminine names for your heroine. Quiet small names for the maid. Testosterone fueled names for the hero. Exotic names for the dragon/sword/distant land where the jeweled crown is hidden....uuhh sorry, where was I? Oh yeah.

Then that leads into good vs. bad. You have to have balance right? Protag vs Antag. Strong Saintly name vs Almost as Strong Evil Name. One problem I'm having right now is I LIKE my antags name. It's a good strong sexy name. But I don't want him to be. So I may have to change it to Toilet Brush.

How do you pick your characters names? Do you find them before you start your story or as you go?


  1. I usually find my character names before I start. I usually know a little bit about them first, and then go cruising around baby name sites. Sometimes, I look for names with certain meanings. Sometimes, I just look for something that sounds right. It depends, but I can always just tell when I hit on the right one.

    Thanks for the post!

  2. I don't know. For my main characters I always seem to know their names after I figure out their personalities. Their supporting cast is a different story. I seem to bounce around for a while until something sticks. Baby name sites and the like, or research on names based on heritage (Irish, English, etc).

  3. Shallee,

    You're right, sometimes you just know when it's the right one.


    That's me. I bounce around until I get tired of "Dr. ?" did this. hehe Then I pick a name.


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