Character of the Week: Star Names

I try to change it up every week, choosing a different genre or a different type of name. This week I saw someone talking about using “Star Names” and I thought I would write about my thoughts on the subject.

I could actually use a different perspective on my characters’ names.
Female, 17-18, Near Future
She grew up on a farm and had a happy childhood with loving and supportive parents. When she was 14 she got a scholarship to the Academy. She now lives on a giant spaceship academy/base.
I’m fairly certain I have two names nailed down. Her best friend on the ship, Andy/Andromeda, gets kidnapped at the beginning of the book. She is like royalty on her planet, but has kept that fact under wraps while on the ship. And I was thinking about Piper for her other close friend. I’m not set on names quite yet.
My MC is very intelligent and an inventor. She’s also skilled in shooting and fighting, but not so much in knives. All academy students study self-defense and fighting, but she goes the extra mile with extra classes because she feels like she has to be the best. She’s a bit of an overachiever.

The two names this writer was considering are very different from each other. Piper is a fairly popular name currently, so I feel that in a novel set in the near future it may sound dated. Andy is somewhat dated now, having been more popular in the 1980s as a nickname for names like Andrea and Sandra, but Andromeda is a modern sounding naming that is well suited to a sci-fi setting.

While the disparate name choices could be explained by the fact that one character is from another planet, the writer’s post indicated that she was unsure of the names she had already chosen. I felt what she needed more than just a name was a naming style to help with her world building.

Andromeda is a very interesting choice, so I went with that. I decided that in the near future in this novel’s setting, after humans have met and now interact with aliens, that star names may be in vogue.

I did a search for star names and chose ones that sounded like girls’ names; I also chose ones that sounded most like a strong, intelligent overachiever.

  • Itzel: A futuristic Isabel, less frilly and with more bite
  • Sirrah: Similar to Sarah, a strong womanly name
  • Gamma: Similar to Gemma, very modern sounding
  • Vega: A little bit Rock ‘n’ Roll, a whole lot space badass
  • Ankaa: Similar to Anika, but with an almost Egyptian goddess feel

The writer replied: Thank you for this! So far, I’m really liking Sirrah, Gamma, and Vega. (Which is incredibly ironic, considering Vega is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra, which is the other name I keep going back to.)

I imagine the writer used one of these names for her main character, and others for her friends and classmates. I certainly hope she chose something different for poor Piper.


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