Thursday 5 April 2012

Planning Book 3 - Naming Characters

My finger has been pulled out and, after enjoying a week (*cough* little bit more than *cough*) 'off' from writing, I have started planning my next book. I won't actually start writing it until Book 2 is finished and being submitted to agents but I may as well plan this one while Book 2 is in its virtual drawer for a month.

I love this stage of writing; inventing new people and lives, discovering what is going to happen to them. In Book 3 I have a main character, Ruth, and her two love interests, Billy and Jared, plus a couple of minor characters. Their names came to me really easily but sometimes it can be difficult to find names for characters.

Sometimes I have a character name and build the person up from that but other times I only have a character and have to find a name that 'fits'. There are loads of different ways I 'find' names, from popular names of the year a character was born (looked up online), name generators (also online), television credits, songs that happen to be on the radio while I'm trying to think of a name or newspapers/magazines.

But the simplest way is using a Baby Name book, like the one at the top of this blog post. I've had that book since I was about 12/13. I bought it for the bargain price of 50p when a bookshop was closing down in town and I've used it for my stories ever since. Funny that it never helped when I had my first daughter. We looked through that book (and another I got free with a baby magazine) and couldn't find a name we both liked. Her name isn't even in the book so my poor Jellyfish was called Baby Girl for a couple of days.

Anyway, I've gone off on a tangent. Do you find it easy to name your characters? Or do you have ways of hunting them down?


  1. I usually find naming fairly simple. I create the character then have to find a name that works, but I am pretty good at it. I am fascinated by names, so it's one of my favourite parts of the writing process.

  2. I love creating the characters but sometimes find it frustrating when I can't find a name that fits.

    I forgot to mention that I sometimes name characters And places after people I admire from tv, films and songs. I love incorporating things like that into my books.

  3. I use movie credits and football rosters to get my names.

  4. Hi Heather. There are name inspirations everywhere, aren't there? It's good to hear where others get theirs from.

  5. I kept my baby naming books for this purpose! They're fantastic for naming characters. Especially if you want it's origin, or a reason for calling the person that name as you get some history with it in some of the good baby name books.

    Or another great place is here :D Have fun with it! The random name generator.

    I've also used names come in from SPAM before... but Google is much better at getting rid of it, so don't get so many names that way any more.

  6. I like that you get the meanings and origins of names in the baby names books too. I like matching a character with a name that matches their personalities.

    I've never thought about using pam for names - there really are name inspirations everywhere!


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