I see a lot of questions everyday about people wondering how to name their characters. Most often they have a number of names in mind and don’t know how to choose. But sometimes you can’t think of any name at all!
Personally I think it doesn’t help to ask complete strangers on yahoo or a site like that. Because they don’t know your character. Character’s are like your own children, you know them best. And you should name them.
Naming your character
Step 1: Get the most detailed picture of your character possible. What does he look like? What does he like and dislike? What is his personality like? Is he nice, snobby, mean, annoying, helpful?
Step 2: I’m sure you’ve all met people and thought: your name really suits you. Or people whose name don’t suit them at all. A girl who always dresses in black and it kind of depressing to be around the name Summer doesn’t really suit her a name like Raven would suit her better. If you have a stuck up boy and old fashioned name like Winston or James suits him better than a name like Tom. Of course this isn’t a rule, but you could think to yourself what kind of name will suit your character best.
Step 3: Babies. What? No really. Try going to baby sites such as babynames.com. They are the best sites to get inspiration for your names. If you want names from a certain area or age, you could also search Google. Searches like “names from the 1700 in France” probably give you a lot of great hits.
Step 4: Make a list of your favorite names and ponder about all of them some time. Don’t decide right away. I know my parents made a list like this before I was born. For instance if I had been born a boy, my name would have been Daan.
Step 5: Try to narrow it down to your top 2. Then choose. This is the hard part of course. You could try writing a piece which introduces your character, or a random scene featuring your character. Try out both names. You’ll probably like one better than the other.
I hoped this helped you along on the painful naming process of your characters! Of course you can also have names in languages that don’t exist… but I’ll come back on that another day.