Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's In A Name?

Finding the perfect name for your MC can be tricky. You might spend 30, 000 words calling your character something, but realise the name doesn't fit. Then you are back to the drawing board (and using the Find/Replace feature a lot).

I'll admit that I don't spend a lot of time thinking of the perfect name (my characters have told me their names when they show up *phew*). But, sometimes, names need to be period specific. Or have a meaning.

And here are a few helpful links:

5 Tips for Naming Your Character.

Baby Name Generator 

What about you? How do you come up with names?


  1. I haven't had to change my mc characters' names (mainly because I've spend an hour figuring them out). But I have had to change names of secondary characters because I realized too many started with the same letter. Or more embarrassing, I use the same name for two different characters who were only mentioned in the dialogue. It looked like a older woman was having a fling with a teenage boy. Oops!!!!

    From now on, I'm writing a list of character names for each project, no matter how minor the character's role. :)

  2. I like to have meaning in the names that I pick, or at least I start out that way a lot. One site I like to go to that gives name meanings is at

    Great post!

  3. I do the same thing as C.R. and use the same website. I like my MC's name to have special meaning, even if it's only for me.

  4. I usually use the random name generator (at to find names, and then I look up the meanings. I also go with what 'feels' right. I highly recommend this generator, though, especially for when you really have no idea what to name a character.

    But I've been in that position before, where the name of my MC just didn't fit. I called her Alia for almost three years. Last winter I realized it just wasn't working, and her name was changed to Kenna. It fits her perfectly and I couldn't be happier with my choice!

  5. I do two things: 1) Google baby names and their meanings; and when that doesn't work, 2) I do what Matthew does :)

  6. My favorite resource for names is fake name generator ( Often, it's not the first name that hangs me up, but the last.

  7. I like to use
    They allow you to search names by gender and meaning if you are looking for something specific. I also have a big book of "50,000 Baby Names" and sometimes (if I am having trouble thinking of a name) I just let it fall open to a random page and pick one with my eyes closed.

  8. I use the baby name sites a lot or baby books. It used to freak my husband out when I'd come home with baby name books LOL Now he knows they are just for my book babies :D I also use the phone book for last names- I just close my eyes and randomly flip to one. I don't always use it, but it can be helpful.

    I keep a name list also. If I see or hear a cool name I love I write it down for future use :)


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