Naming Characters

Hello my name is

On writing pages from Facebook to WordPress and everwhere in between people ask, “How do I find a name for my character?” Here are some suggestions.

  1. Find a character name generating site online. is a fun site. There are many more. The advantage to this site, besides that it’s free, is that it helps you think about your character. The disadvantage is that it sticks to only the details you enter and doesn’t consider character traits and mixed heritage. That’s on you.
  2. Write down every interesting name you hear. Interesting names are everywhere, so take advantage of that. American and European football players have amazing names. Look up a roster. Here’s a few choice names from the Manchester City Team:     
    1. Daniel Grimshaw (Grimshaw, what a great surname!)
    2. Claudio Bravo (Bravo! Clearly a hero type)
    3. Tosin Adarabioyo (Tosin? Original indeed!)
    4. Demeaco Duhaney
    5. Eliaquim Mangala
    6. Nicolás Otamendi
    7. Ayotomiwa Dele-Bashiru
    8. Fabian Delph (I yes, a Greek God’s lay name)
    9. Brahim Diaz
    10. Ilkay Gündogan
    11. Leroy Sané (serial killer name?)
    12. Yaya Touré (clown at Cirque du Soleil?)
    13. Olexandr Zinchenko
    14. Sergio Agüero
    15. Lukas Nmecha
    16. Raheem Sterling

Warning: I chose a character with a diacritic mark and it was more effort to write it correctly with the umlaut than it was worth.

Looking for a Russian name? Try the national hockey team. Looking for Russian female? Try gymnasts and tennis players from Russia. Or, if you are well read and can remember the names from Russian literature, you have sources right there.  

  1. Look around. I see a CHAIR. Okay, Charlotte Ireland. Charlie Israel, a Scottish Jew. Bike. Billicans Kerry. Bibby Kells. Whatever. Names are in everything.
  2. Make a list. Keep a file or notebook with a list of interesting names. I have some students with amazing names. I won’t use their full names, but a name like Nmbala is a common Englishsizing of an African surname. It is interesting and original. So, why not use it?
  3. You don’t have to get the best name the first time through. Put down Bob Blob or Susan Slime and get on with the writing of your story.

Good skill!