Much like naming a baby, naming a character is tricky: will the character grow into its name? What if it doesn’t? How will their name impact their story?

Fully-fleshed out characters won’t have to rely on their personality or winning characteristics to be portrayed in that light: the actions they take and who they are should define them, not that their name is Andre because it means “manly.” Names like theseĀ can provide an extra layer of meaning but they shouldn’t be relied on.

In the beginning, names don’t really matter. They usually hold me back so I tend to use the name of the person in the cubicle next to me or [BARTENDER] while keeping a list of names that I actually like because the names can (and probably will) always be changed later.

Now, on to the list!

  1. Last names in a phone book.
  2. People you went to school with.
  3. Look in the local newspaper.
  4. Flip through old books and comics.
  5. Read through an old census.
  6. Read through an atlas.
  7. Use a character name generator.
  8. Read a baby name book.
  9. A place you’ve been to.
  10. Use the name of a store you’ve seen.
  11. Use a sports player’s name.
  12. Flip through a dictionary.
  13. Use a name translator.
  14. Movie & TV credits.
  15. Combine two words that you really like.
  16. Google Maps (look at names of forts, street names, etc.).
  17. Use a travel listing.
  18. Use the names of senders in your e-mail spam folder.
  19. Use old yearbooks.
  20. Use a map.

What’s your favorite character’s name?

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