I ask this because I’ve always had trouble naming my characters — let alone remembering their names once I’ve come up with them! If you watched one of my recent vlogs, you’ll recall me admitting that one of the characters in Imminent Danger started off named Vallin, and then changed halfway through to Varrin because I forgot his name. Eek. Obviously that has been corrected, but still … eek.
I have several naming methods for my characters, some of which are more or less ridiculous than the others. Are you prepared to bathe in the gentle hurricane that is my wisdom? Awesome. Here are my naming methods, in no particular order:
Drawing inspiration from surrounding signage
My favourite example of this is a character from one of my WIPs. I knew her name was Caroline, because I love that name, but I couldn’t figure out what her last name was. I was sitting in Starbucks one day, looked up, and saw a McDonald’s Drive Through sign. I stood from my chair, shrieked “EUREKA!”, and Caroline Drive was born.
Basing names off of a character’s species
This one mainly applies to all my crazy aliens in Imminent Danger. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know there’s a race of six-armed, blue scaled lizard men called the Ssrisk. How did I name them? Easy. What sound do reptiles and snakes make? Hsssssss. Hssssssss … Sssssssssssrisk … EUREKA!
Naming after friends / family
Not main characters, obviously, but I’ve definitely done this with locations. The Barlow Collegiate Institute, for example, in Imminent Danger, is named after my best friend. Anyone who’s followed the adventures of “Immin Dang” (my ill-fated book cover) will also be happy to know that there is now an Imindang district in a new alien city they visit in the sequel.
Classical allusions / Pop culture references
This one is obviously my main character, Eris — aka the Greek goddess of Discord. I actually first fell in love with that name when my brother introduced me to Final Fantasy VII (you know, that iconic game where Aeris is famously stabbed by Sephiroth and dies despite the fact that resurrection spells are very common in that universe?). So I combined the two and came up with Eris, abductee extraordinaire. Woo!
Making up names that sound cool
I love names with Vs and Rs in them. Oooh, and Zs! I’m a sucker for a good Z. Hence my awesomely-named emperor of Rakor, Ka’zarel. Booya. Note how I included a totally unnecessary apostrophe in his name for style.
How do you name your characters? What’s your favourite name that you’ve ever come up with?
Unrelated media of the day: