7 June 2012

How to choose cracking character names

Character names @ Isa Byrne
I'm writing a sci-fi book at the moment, so I can't just go on-line at look at baby name sites to get inspiration for my character's names (though if that suits your story, that is one of the better ways to go). I can be a little more experimental with my naming schemes.

I've a couple of methods of working out names.  Feel free to steal all or none of these ideas ^_^.

Changing a letter

This one is a fairly straight forward trick.  Take a common name, and change one or two letters for something that's still familiar but a little different.

My original last name for my main character was Jones, but it was a little too ordinary.  I cycled through the alphabet and decided Jodes was a better fit.  A few others that work out nicely are:
  • Smith becomes Mith
  • Vivian becomes Jivian or Vijian
  • Jimmy becomes Yimmy or Simmy or Dimmy (though that's a bit mean)
Feel free to steal any (or all) of these.

Modifying words

This technique works well, especially if you want more unusual names.  Pick a random word from your environment and 'tweak' it, just a little, to give yourself some great new options.
  • Samsung (the brand-name of my monitor) becomes Amsun or Amsu, both of which I might use
  • Nortek (the brand-name of the little USB clock on my desk) becomes Orte or Norte
  • Sticky note becomes Kynot
See how easy it is? ^_^


How do you make up new names for your characters?



Amanda Fanger said...

Isa, great post again, and some awesome pointers :) I use a lot of the same methods you talk about here for naming my characters. But then again, sometimes I just make them up! The two main characters' names in my current WiP are Jessico and Fayfairilynn. The first one, I just switched out the 'a' in Jessica, and for the second one, just started putting letters together until they sounded cool. My genre is fantasy fiction, so that kind of thing works well ^_^

Isa @ IsaByrne IndividualChic said...

Hi Amanda,
Jessico is a good one. Easy to say in your head ^_^