write tips

My favorite sources to find character names

I love character names. Naming my main characters is one of my favorite parts of writing a story. Names that resonate with me really connect me to my characters, and it’s so important to me that I find the right one.

However, you have to name a lot of things when you’re writing a story, and it can definitely be inconvenient coming up with different names every time a new character is introduced.

So whether you need a quick name for a cameo character or you’re searching for the perfect name for a MC, these are my favorite sources that accommodate any and every naming need.

Baby name websites

This is great for when you want a lot of options to go through. Baby name websites will have literally thousands of options, and I think this is the go-to for most writers. A couple of my favorites:

http://www.babynames.net/

https://nameberry.com/

https://www.parents.com/baby-names/

You can specify gender, go by race, and even find out the meaning of the names you chose, if that’s important to you. A great source even for fantasy/sci-fi writers who base their worlds on specific cultures, so you can modify real names to suit your stories.

Name generators

I love name generators for my fantasy or sci-fi stories, especially the ones that can come up with made-up names. But there are generators of all kinds. Fantasy name generators, real name generators, last name generators. Even if you don’t go with the options they provide, they give you a good basis to start with.

https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/ <— This one is my favorite. It has so many different generators great for writers of all kinds, so definitely browse through the options they have available!

https://www.name-generator.org.uk/ <— This is another great source with lots of diverse options.

http://www.rinkworks.com/namegen/ <— This is mainly for fantasy names, and it’s an old site, but works great. It allows you to take syllables and combine them together randomly if you like that kind of thing, but it can also make names on its own.

Yahoo Answers

Now this is sort of a weird trick. I don’t have a Yahoo account, and I don’t really know how the website works that much because I’m not really a Yahoo user.

But, in order to find what I’m looking for I look up terms in Google and type “Unique girl names yahoo answers”, “French boy names yahoo answers”, or “Surnames yahoo answers”. Sometimes you get better results typing “for a story” in the search, too.

The reason why I go this route is because usually I’ll find someone looking for something similar to me (especially if you include “for a story”) already asking the question, so nine times out of ten there’s no need to actually post a question myself.

And the great thing about reading these posts is that you’ll see the top answer, as well as the answers of other people that helped out, so you get different options.

Get followers involved on social media

Asking for opinions on Twitter and Facebook are a great way to get your followers engaged in what you’re doing and also get suggestions! You can post that you’re looking for names (expect tons of answers, trust me), and then you can do a poll on the top three later if you can’t decide. It’s one of my favorite ways to come up with a name when I’m really stuck, because the community gets me excited about what I’m naming!

However way you name your character, find something that connects to you and connects to who you want your character to be. It’s one of the best feelings in the world to find a character name that just works, and I hope you have fun finding yours.

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