One of my least favorite tasks in writing fiction is naming my characters. I know, I know, it SHOULD be fun and easy and well, fun.
For me, it isn’t.
I either AGONIZE over a name and drive myself crazy or I flip open the phone book and chose the first name my finger lands on. I figure I can always change it later, right?
Well naming a character really is something to think about. Often times, without even meaning to, a character’s name will influence her character traits, personality, and the theme of the story.
I still hate naming characters.
Honestly, one of my go-to methods for naming a character is to ask my mom. I give her a snippet about the character, how I see him acting, what he looks like, and some basic framework of the story (sci-fi or romance, action or historic) and let her do her thing. After teaching for THIRTY YEARS she’s got a great name database in her head.
If you’re not so lucky, here are five websites to help you with names!
Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names by Year
You can set the year of birth and get anywhere from the top 20 to the top 1,000 names in that year
Not only the top names by year, but also by region.
Remember the movie “Heathers”? Not just the trends of an individual name, but also about over-reaching trends.
Another resources for regional names.
Because sometimes knowing the name is time-frame appropriate just isn’t enough!
So when you’re picking your names here are my top five tips: