Choosing Your Character’s Name

Choosing the name of a character in your novel is a bit like reading the book Where’s Waldo? You can search forever and never find just the right one.


You want to be creative, but not too creative.

You say, “It has to fit the person in the book.”

That is a huge weight to place on your character. And what if you need to change the name later?

Can’t Remind Me of Someone I Know

I can understand that. Naming your evil mastermind after your mother might make for an interesting Thanksgiving meal time.

You do get to choose!

Don’t Make Your Reader Stop with a “What?”

I have come across some unusual names in real life:

Haight and Rayge (brothers)
Twelver (he is the 12th kid in the family)
Cash Money (first and last name)
Candy Caine (I went to high school with her. She could only dress up one way at Halloween.)
Ulakita Ulakita (played basketball against him in high school)
Har$ (pronounced Harmony)
Starscream (Yep, named after a Transformer.)
Beau and Arrow (twin brothers)

My father worked in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) during WWII. He collected an amazing list of odd names he came across during his years working various cases. He told me that after awhile nothing came as a surprise.


Tamela has written a number of great blogs on this topic that can help you with naming your characters. Please take a look at them:

“What’s in a Name?”
“Naming Names”
“Any Name Will Do”

Your Turn:

How did you pick the names in your novel?

Why did you reject certain names?

Where did you find your names?


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