Tips for Naming Your Characters

Now, some people might have struggles picking names for OCs whether it be in fics or in WIPS you have locked away in a treasure vault somewhere.

For some of you, this might be second-nature, but for writers just staring out, here are some helpful tips.

  • Search up baby names online.
  • Search up names by meaning. (I know this might seem too “on the nose” for people.) But if your character is a shadow king, you probably want to name him something that means “morbid” or “soul” rather than, say, Kevin
  • Name your deadly shadow kings Kevin if you wish to be ironic, by all means. Or just for shits and giggles
  • Have variety. I know names that start with whatever letter sound cool. I fall into a habit of thinking “K” names sound amazing and overusing them. Kai. Kane. Keladry. If all your characters suddenly sound like they should be in a clique in a high school movie, SWITCH IT UP
  • I mean, this could be in the whole “have variety” thing, but it’s always good to use names from other cultures. But be wary of attributing names and only having white characters. It’s always nice to see one’s own race/gender/sexuality portrayed in a story that they’re reading.
  • Take words from other languages, think outside European frameworks. Other languages are beautiful and worthy of recognition. Hell, even look at some ancient languages that have gone long extinct.
  • Maybe search up ancient deities if you want some badass gothic sounding names
  • Be careful when making up names. Try to make it sound plausible to whatever linguistic tradition you’re setting your story in. (Remember, Tolkien was a professional in languages when he made up words. Be cautious of just mixing words together, as you might come up with something potentially offensive in another language)
  • It’s always good form to run any made-up names you have through Google Translate. (Wouldn’t want your name to mean something inappropriate in other cultures.) For me, silly mishaps have happened where a name meant “creator” in one language and “dead” in another, and some readers I had from other parts of the world got confused.
  • Don’t use real names of other people in your life in your book (unless you get permission from them).
    • Or you’re Stan Lee.

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