Naming Characters With The Internet

Naming Characters is one of the most intriguing part of the writing process. Sometimes the name of your main character just falls off the tips of your fingers as you write or type your story; other time, however, it’s not so easy to reveal.

Baby name directories and name origin systems are good ways to find character names. If your character you are trying to name has a theme or a history, you can match his/her name meaning to that theme or history. Or maybe it’s a destiny yet to be revealed in your story. Name meanings are a sneaky way to do a little foreshadowing for your readers. Also, if you have a name you want to check for meaning, Google "baby names" or you can use one of my favorites:

Baby Name Wizard
Probably the coolest baby name sites, but highly addicting and distracting. You might find yourself looking up names just for the sake of doing so, and completely forgetting about your characters. Beware!

Baby Names World hosted by Parents Connect A site that’s great for cross referencing names and searching for new ones all at the same time. Aside from the annoying advertisements in the middle of the lists, this site is my favorite.

Think Baby Names
This one, is more of a search and find, a Google search for baby names. The information is very comprehensive though.

Baby Names hosted by Family Education&
Another comprehensive baby name site, one that is click- and user-friendly. Plus, it has popularity Charts!

Social Security’s Baby Name Directory
I hardly use, unless I want a common name for a specific year. I tend to use this with one of the others to come up with something time sensitive.

Behind The Name
One of my top favorite sites for character name research. It is like Think Baby Names, but easier to use and manipulate to find what you want (or what you don’t know you want) … Complete with Pop Charts.

Baby Namer
If you already have a name and want a quick peak that’s easy to use as Google, this site is for you.

Of course, these sites are great for what their made for, you know, naming babies, but who wants to state the obvious?

Other ways to name characters is to skim your phone book, personal and county; use names of people you know, as is or mix-and-match; and finally skim your spam folder. The last one is actually quite interesting. I just did one on mine and here’s a list that I compiled (Yes, From My Spam Email Box):

  • O. Thacker
  • Jodene Metzger
  • Bernetta Estrada
  • Sharyn Edmondson
  • Rolph Crain
  • Martta Ferreira
  • Cameron Herring
  • Lorena Parish
  • Rawanda McClay
  • Sharon Roytek
  • Sara Bloomfield
  • Poul Shea
  • Jana Neil
  • Reiko Figarsky
  • Letha Kendall
  • Stu Bradshaw
  • Peg Breana

Some of them will be common, some not so much, but it is very interesting nonetheless.

Everything about character names is all well and good, once you find the right one to use, though. Up until that point, it might seem as if your story is somehow incomplete, even if it already has underwent several revisions. Finding suitable names for your characters is very important. 
If you still have trouble, just ask your characters what their name is. Yes, it sounds like I’m asking you to loose your mind. I am actually trying to help you find it. And yes, they will tell you, if you’re quiet enough.