How do you find names for your characters?


I am about to embark on my fourth novel and have ideas running around in my head, and characters that I want to write about, but my difficulty seems to be in selecting names for these characters. The main character – Libby – in my third novel, went through several name changes before I settled on Libby. I chose Elizabeth as the character’s name, then Libby because it is a derivative of Elizabeth and also she became a liberated woman! I sift through pages of male and female names, perhaps pick one or two, then change my mind. Some names conjure up people from my past who I haven’t liked – they, of course, will turn out to be the baddies! But for the main characters I really struggle. Does anyone else have this problem? and if so, what system do you use to select character names? One person I know just puts any name in while she is writing her story, then goes back and changes the names to more suitable ones at the end. I can’t do that, as to me the character is real from the word go and has to have a proper name.

I would love to hear any suggestions.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “How do you find names for your characters?

  1. When I write a story, I become the character . I have even cried as I wrote about an old lady dying, perhaps because I am getting there. Lol. If I come across a surname or Christian name I like , I write it in my little book for future reference. Ian Fleming acquired the name ‘James Bond ‘ from an ornithologist, same with ‘Harry Potter’. ( Sorry, you probably know that.) I can’t put just any name in as I can’t identify with them.

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  2. Thank you for replying. I keep thinking about making notes on names in a notebook, but never do anything about it. Perhaps now I will!

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  3. jessicabono915

    I jot down random names I like as I see them. Sometimes I search baby names online and sift through hundreds of them to find the perfect one. Most of the time I pick from names I’ve written down in a notebook or saved in my phone. I get names from everywhere though. TV shows, movies, books, people I know, name tags at stores or restaurants, singers, etc. I’ve also looked to see what names were popular the year my character was born. That helps sometimes.

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    • Good idea to check what names were popular for the year a character is born. I did that in ‘With Love From Libby’ The name Elizabeth was popular when her character was born. Thank you for replying.

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