When it comes to naming characters, they should really be memorable and (hopefully) unique to the book (or script) they come from. ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Indiana Jones’, ‘Obi Wan Kenobi’, ‘Bilbo Baggins’, all these names are easily recognisable. Not only for the individual character but also for the stories they are from.
As well as memorable, character names must fit with the setting they are from – after all, there weren’t many Skywalkers around during the Victorian times. Unless of course you’re writing steampunk.
With choosing names, we all have a tendency to fixate on certain things. I (Loz) tend to fixate on names that are vowel heavy, when choosing female names, and S’s when choosing names for men. Though, I am trying to break myself of both habits.
Whereas, I (Michelle) tend to look at name meanings or browse Celtic and Gaelic names. I once had a character that arrived in my head with a single name. I didn’t know whether it was his first name or surname. In the end, it was actually his middle name but he used it as his first name, just to confuse me.
What we have found, with our writing, is that some characters are easy to name or their names pop into our heads upon creation of said character. But then you get the difficult sods. The ones who have you browsing baby naming sites until you find something that makes him/her perk up and agree that it fits them. And that’s all that matters really, if the name is a good fit for your character (and sometimes, you may find that your initial choice may change the more you get to know your character).
It’s also funny to see people who know you’re terminally single react to you browsing baby names 😉
How do you choose your character names?