Naming characters

Tonight is Supernatural. Woohoo! Last week’s episode was really cool, so I’m excited about tonight’s. 😀 I also received a rejection today, but hey, that just proves to me that I’m submitting and have my stuff out there. There’s another publisher that is also interested in the story, so here’s hoping that they like it enough to contract.

Anyways, recently, I’ve had the pleasure of naming a new kitten, so it made me think about character names as they are one of my favorite parts of writing. I use name websites a lot to help me with this task. Some of my favorites are: babynames.com, 20000-names.com, and behindthename.com. (For surnames, there is surname.behindthename.com.)

When I name my characters, I almost always choose the names first by figuring out my character’s ethnicity and country of origin (or ancestor’s country of origin). Then I go about finding a name that matches a certain quality or trait regarding the character. For instance, if I were to have a character that was very much into protecting others, I would go with something like Alexander/Alexandra, which means “defender of mankind.”

Sometimes though, a character will emerge with a name, and I don’t have to worry about picking out just the right one. I enjoy either path, though it is nice when I do get to go through the lists of names. A lot of the time it gives me ideas for secondary characters, or even ones not related to that story.

How about you? What are your methods of naming characters? I’d love to hear your opinions. =)

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