I know creating characters names can come easy to some, but be harder for others. as I was writing for my personal research thread, I noticed that I had an interesting way of creating character names and wanted to share it with you guys. I want to help people that struggle with this kind of thing, and I feel like my method really helps ease the struggles of this important part of a story.
Time and Place
First you should look at when your story takes place. Having a story that takes place in the 1800’s with a princess named “Twitter” wouldn’t make a lot of sense. However, a futuristic story could have a girl of that name, and it be a bit comical to a modern audience.
When the time period is decided, you can easily go from there and search the most common baby names of that time. You’ll get accurate information and make the character seem more realistic. If it’s something that takes place in the future, you have a bit more freedom with the name game. You can find the most common names of our current year or even play on the names of other things like wildlife, flora, architecture, etc… depending on the theme of your story.
When it comes to places, you can also search for popular names in certain parts of the world. For Fantasy, you can do some research on what kind of place your characters would live in if they were in the modern world and go from there.
Your readers will have an impact on your story. They are the ones you’re writing for! So including common names of their generation could work in your favor.
For example, if you are writing a YA story your aiming for the ages of 12-18. The average age of that group is 15 (add the ages, divide by 7) so you then see what year the average age would be born in by subtracting the age from the current year. For 2022, a 15 year old would be born in 2007. Now you would just search for the most popular baby names of that year, in this case it’s 2007.
Once you’ve done that, you can pick from a list of names that your readers are most likely to have, so they will connect more with a character in your story and be more likely to continue reading it. Think of how you feel when you see your name in a story or on a keychain. It’s exciting!
You can also do a search for the most common surnames and start mixing and matching until you find one you like. Using Common names means your readers are more likely to have those names for themselves so you’ll have a better chance at making your characters seem more realistic and relatable all while making readers keep reading your story.
You can also get inspiration from the names around you. If you know a name that you’ve always liked, you can tweak it or just add it to your story. For example, I once met a girl named Alaira (uh-lair-uh) and I loved it. If writing a Fantasy story, I could tweak it to be Alarah (uh-lar-uh) instead. When it comes to Fantasy Surnames, I just put a spin on common surnames. For Example, Alarah Jones would be Alarah Joevs (just Jones with a V sound instead of an N sound). Just take a surname that fits the original name and change a sound in it to make it more magical. You can continue to change sounds until it sounds right.
I hope this helps a few people when creating their character names! I know this method has helped me the most and I developed it over years of writing. I always want to help people out, so if you have any questions or need extra help just message me and I’d be happy to help you out!