How do you come up with character names?
Trial & Error
Finding the right names for your characters, now that’s a process of trial and error for me.
There’s so much you need to take in consideration when you’re naming your characters. For example: Where and when does the story take place? What are the parents of your character like? Does he/she have siblings? If so, then perhaps you should come up with names that match – sort of. I think it’s rather rare to find siblings of which one has this very plain name and the other has one of those less common names.
Most of the times, we look for names with meaning and names that go with the story. So, at first I’ll be going through endless lists of names online, pick the ones I like and write them down.
Usually I just write my story while the characters are still left unnamed. It’s rather funny to read it afterwards with the referrals like “guy walks that way” or “girl does this”, I even go as far as naming them A, B, C, D, … And then when I have a list of names and my characters have been gaining personalities, I go through the lists and imagine my character with a certain name. It’s easy to eliminate the names that don’t match your character, however, when you end up with only a couple of names left, it’s rather hard to pick one. Then again, sometimes you can start writing and knowing it right from the start that your character is a Jenny, Keara, Anna or some uncommon foreign name.
When I began my first story, I only named my characters minutes before I uploaded to Wattpad. Then, after a couple of uploads I realized that I had made a rushed decision and by then it was too late to choose other names. But, as the chapters continued and the story evolved, the characters’ names didn’t really matter anymore since they grew as persons and admit it, in real life you have to learn to live with your own name, no? You don’t get to choose it either.
So, as powerful as a name might seem, in the end it’s only a name.
[Of course there are stories where names are really important, so what I’m referring to is only of matter for the stories where the name of a character isn’t part of the plot]