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Rated: 13+ · Article · Writing · #1966842
How do you name your fictional characters. Here's my thoughts....
As a writer of fiction for some time, I've developed a personal set of qualities to help me name my children, my characters. One of two things happen: either the name comes to me immediately as the character appears in my brain, or I get to thinking long and hard, and doing a little research.

I have a book called "Naming Characters" that I purchased from the "Writer's Digest" library. I've also picked up a couple of second-hand baby names books. I think a writer ought to know the meaning assigned to the name. You can go with the expected, or try the other extreme, like naming your devilish character "Angel."

Another way to perhaps, validate your choice of a name for a character is to check the list of most popular baby names for the year your story is set-in, or better yet, the year your fictional character was born. In the 2013 list of female names, "Sophia" was at the top of the list. Sofia Vergara of "Modern Family" fame has certainly made a couple of dents in American society. People pick their children's names from television shows, as the number of Crystals who were so named during the days of the night-time series "Dynasty." I met a young man whose middle name was Quinton, and he had no idea from where his name had originated. This was before Quinton Tarrintino became a household familiar. his boy's mother was a few years older than I am, but she watched "Dark Shadows" in the Sixties. And I strongly suspect that my young friend Micah, had a father who watched Lucas McCain and company on "The Rifleman." Micah wasn't aware his name had been on TV. But he did know his mother told him his name was selected from the Bible.

The Bible is another rich source of names. Some sound as old as Moses and Sarah, but the Bible provides a wealth of names to peruse and consider.

Another aspect to consider about your characters' names is the nicknames that derive from the original name. Robert could be Rob, Robbie, Bob, Bobbie--depending upon the relationship. There's the name the mother gives, and there can be another name used by the character's friends or business associates. This happens in real life, so why not consider alternative variations of your characters' names.

A problem I ran into recently was the number of syllables in the character's name. How many three syllable female names can you come up with?

Jennifer
Stephanie
Diana

Four syllables:

Victoria


(I hope to add to this, so drop me an e-mail if you have suggestions)

I sometime base my characters situations on those of my associates and friends. It's always best to change the name. You can spare unintentional bad feelings by keeping your sources private.

This is a first draft. Will finish this out properly...still editing and ideas are still simmering a bit.
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