children's writer

Names

Aug 27, 2012
Hello everyone! I've been feeling very inspired lately. Super inspired actually. And since this blog is one of my only outlets, I might as well share my ideas with you guys. One of my "bright" ideas was sharing a list of names I love and plan to use in upcoming novels.

As writers I know how important coming up with the perfect name can be. For me, one of the toughest things is changing a character's name. It almost feels like I've given them a new identity. I usually don't put much thought into naming my characters, though. I usually go with what sounds and feels right. Imagine my surprise when I looked up the meaning for some of the names I've used and they fit my character's personality or appearance perfectly.

From SUMMER SPELL my main character Cassidy Harwell's name means curly, which fits. Cassidy is a twelve-year-old African American girl with hair as thick as a lion's mane, or at least that's how her mama describes it.

From PRETTY-EYED GIRLS DON'T CRY my main character Amelia Taylor's name means work, effort, strain, which sort of fits because she does work hard to try an hold her family together.

From SOUTH OF LONESOME my main character Shelby Porter's name means sheltered. Shelby Porter thinks her parents would keep her locked up in a cage if they could.

So when it comes to naming my characters I think I've done pretty good. I've been keeping a list of names that I plan to use in the future. I definitely have a thing for southern sounding names like Graydon.


How do you name your characters? Do you have any favorite names?
13 comments on "Names"
  1. Yes! I have a whole list of names, if I ever get stuck naming a character. But I also have a list of names I like that I want to use for specific characters in books.

    Rex, Weston, Sawyer and Salem are the boy names I have books ideas for and Winnie, Lennex, Naia, and Tessa are the girls names. And I love your list, Tracey! :)

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    1. Thank you! I like your idea for having a list for specific characters, and I love the names Rex and Weston. :)

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  2. I both love and hate character naming! I enjoy choosing names, but I find it frustrating when I can't find the "right" name. I am not crazy about my MC's name in my latest WIP - not because I don't like it - I just don't know if it suits her. :(

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    1. Yes! Coming up with character names can be pretty difficult. I've changed the names of my characters many times. I use baby name websites when I need a bit of inspiration. Thanks for commenting, Kyra. :D

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  3. Sometimes the names just come to me. Sometimes I use people I know. But I've never thought of naming a character based on a physical characteristic. Clever. :)

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    1. I think I'll definitely be looking up the meanings of future names I use. :D

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  4. Like you, I go with what feels right. If my CPs notice something too rhymey or oddball about the sound of it, I just let another one come into my head and take its place. But when I want to have a name fitting a particular heritage such as French, Middle Eastern, or something, then I'll use a surname applicationor a baby names link to come up with something I like.

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    1. Hey, Angela! There have been times when I've given multiple characters a name starting with the same letter. CPs are definitely great for catching things like that.

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  5. I've been a name nerd from way back, and my taste tends towards the classical eccentric and classical unusual (e.g., Felix, Oliver, Leopold, Octavia, Persephone, Justine, Roland, Winston, Wolfgang, Yseult). Generally, I only use more popular, common, or trendy names for minor or secondary characters. Even for my foreign characters, I like to use names that aren't über-common in their native languages. It also helps a book stay around longer and have a more timeless feel if it doesn't have extremely common or trendy names dating it to its particular generation.

    One thing I hate is when writers (of books, movies, or tv shows) try to predate naming trends. It makes me tune out really fast if I see, for example, a grown woman named Madison or a 19th century boy named Kayden.

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  6. I have found that for whatever reason, in fantasy stories at least, I like female names that end in the letter 'a'. So weird haha.

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  7. Greetings!

    I'm hopping over from GUTGAA and thought I would visit some blogs before the fun begins! Nice to meet you...you have a lovely blog!

    Donna L Martin
    www.donnalmartin.com
    www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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  8. These are great names! My cousin is called Peyton - it's such a wonderful, unusual name, and it can be used for a girl or a boy (although my cousin is a girl!). For some reason I always want to name my protagonists with the letter A. For three projects in a row my main character had a first name which begun with A. I've had to force myself out of the trend! I have no idea why it started; the letter A must just appeal to me!

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