by Rebecca Talley @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Member
How do you name your characters?
Some popular authors have created unique names for their characters, while others have used common names. JK Rowling uses names like Dumbledore, Romilda, Lovegood, and Nymphadora. Stephenie Meyer uses Edward, an ordinary name, for the hero of the Twilight series, as well as other common names such as Jacob, Renee, Jessica, and Alice.
A name will have different associations for different readers depending on their own unique experiences. For example, one reader may think that the name Angie is associated with a fat, ugly girl while another may think of someone extraordinarily beautiful. It’s impossible, as a writer, to predict how readers will react to a name, but you can do some minor research to make sure the name you choose fits your character. Once you choose a name, try it out on friends, writing partners, or critique groups to get a feel of how people will react to the name.
Here are some ideas on how to find names for your characters:
Baby Name Book. These books are readily available and generally include the definition of the name as well as different variations. Many baby name books will include a list of the most popular names of a particular year or other time span.
Social Security Name Index. Go here: www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames and it will give you the most popular 100 names of any given year. This is especially helpful if you’re writing a story set in the past. You can also determine the popularity of the name you’ve chosen for your character.
Use names of Relatives. You can search through family records and genealogy charts to find unique names.
Yearbooks. Find high school yearbooks and search through the pages to find names.
Phone Book. A local phone book can provide you with many names, both first and last. You can simply choose a page and see if any of the names on that page appeal to you.
Names You Wanted for Your Children. Many women who write tend to choose names for their characters that they wanted to name their children but were unable to do so.
Combinations. You can combine certain names and see if the name you’ve created appeals to you.
Your characters are your “babies.” Make sure you name them well.
Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.
Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.
After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.
Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.
You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.