A name is very important to your reader. Names, first and last, define a character enabling the reader to envision the character.
Do you struggle with selecting a cool name?
I do! Every time I sit down to develop a new character, I struggle.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about selecting the best name. I’ve tried name generators and had mixed results. On rare occasions, a name comes to me and just fits. You know what I mean?
Other times as with the antagonist in my current WIP, selecting a name is a major pain in my ass. I’ve changed her name a dozen times or so it seems. Her name still doesn’t work for me. At times I’ve called her Madame X just so I could get a scene down. Come to think of it Madame X, hmm. No, definitely not.
I recently received a newsletter with a video about this very subject. And as usual, I learned something new. This video is so good, I watched it three times. So I decided to share.
Here are the tips I gleaned from Chris Fox.
Start with an adjective that describes the character.
- Short or tall?
- Fat or slim?
- Rugged or polished?
Next, add color.
- Black, or white?
- Pale or tanned?
- Dark /light
Combine these attributes with a noun that describes temperament or appearance. Such as…
Or combine with social status.
- Social climber
Or combine with the region they’re from. A city, wealthy, and well-educated or a person from Europe, may have a longer first name. If they are from a small town their name is more often as not a shortened version or nickname.
- City (highrise, small apartment)
- Small town (suburban house)
- Northern city/town
- Southern city/town
A name comes from 4 primary categories.
- Patronymic: a name derived from that of the father or a paternal ancestor usually by the addition of an affix
- Locative: If a person from a certain region, or country, you may want to anglicize a name or translate to a different language. Google translate is great for this.
- Socioeconomic/Job title/status: of, relating to or involving a combination of social and economic factors
- Nicknames: a substitute for the proper name of a familiar person, place, or thing, for affection or ridicule
- Looks, behavior often attributed to this name.
My tip: What finally helped me select the perfect name for my antagonist?
Google! After using these suggestions I came up with two or three I liked. Then I Googled the meanings of each. Voila! Found what I needed.
At last, I settled on Margo Richardson for my troublemaker.
How do you select your characters name?
Want another great website to find a cool name?
For your watching pleasure…