Names are a vital part of a story. It’s true you can get used to pretty much anything, but the right name makes an impression. I doubt ‘Eugene Phineas Potter’ would be quite as popular as ‘Harry Potter’. Just my opinion, of course.
My point is, I agonize for ages trying to pinpoint the exact right name for a character. Several times, I’ve switched names halfway through a work, or even christened a character ‘IDK’ and run a Find and Replace once I came up with a better label. But this post isn’t about not having names. It’s about finding them. Here are a few of the places I get my names:
1. Off the top of my head. That’s where a lot of my writing comes from – pure imagination. It’s probably all fueled by subconscious bits and bobs, but it feels like I just made it up. Sometimes a name just appears and sticks. This is rare, and I love it.
2. http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/ I can’t describe how much I love this place. With the advanced search, I can plug in what letters I want the name to start with, how popular I want it to be, what ethnic background it has, and even what it means. I have gotten loads of names off this place.
3. People I know. After experiencing my fellow human beings, certain names gain certain connotations in my mind. Michaels are flighty, Courtneys are eccentric, and if I ever have a twisted, deranged character, he’s named Kevin for sure. Of course, these names are derived from my personal experience and so don’t have the same impact on any other reader. Still, I like them – like little Easter eggs hidden just for me.
These are the majority of the places I get character names. Where do you find names for character in books or stories? I’d love to get new sources.