Name Theory: Discovering Fresh Names for First-Class Characters

Sometimes the key to finding a great character name is feeling like you’ve discovered something different, rare, and special.

I think the reason why writers who I helped name characters called me “brilliant” was because I suggested names that fit their style but which they wouldn’t have thought of themselves. Just the fact that the names weren’t common enough to be considered, or weren’t names that are often seen on family, friends, and co-workers, made those names sound fresh enough for their characters.

Most writers are focused on their characters personalities, and on their plots, while I’m often looking about for names. Since I see more names, I see more possibilities, and I’m able to offer those to other writers.

This week’s writer liked two of the names I offered—Rosalind and Charmaine—and I would postulate that part of why the writer liked those names was because he or she had never heard the names before, hadn’t heard them in a while, or had little or no association with the names (relating those names to people she knows or characters he’s read).

Recently I’ve started a new job working with a college aged population, and I am loving their names. In fact, I’ve made a list of over a thousand names that I’m looking at to make some special posts in the coming weeks.

There are some great under-used names in there, some names that I’ve never heard, and some great surnames.

There are also some great characters in this population, and I might well tell you about them. Names do sometimes add personality to a person, and a few of these people are full of personality!

Watch out for some extra posts in the next week or so. You may well discover some different, rare, and special names for your characters!

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