We’re writers. We all know that words are powerful–and we all know that names can be some of the most powerful words of all.
Names carry connotations of hidden meaning or even magic–and sometimes, they’re just the best way make someone or something stand out or blend in. Whatever you want to use them for, it is undeniable that names are important in writing, and this week’s Sunday Sharing aims to help you pick the best names for your work! Truth be told, I usually find that names just spontaneously appear with my characters, but sometimes they don’t, and that’s when I have to go looking for them…
1. So we’ll start with an obvious one. I know this is a repeat post, but The Name Generator is one of my favorite places to get character names (all of which are drawn from census data but are unique enough that they’re not all “Bob Smith”). It’s also awesome because the “Other Options” tab allows you to try out different name combinations. If you’ve already got a first name picked out, type it into the “first name” box and let the generator show you potential last names to go with the name you’ve chosen.
2. This one may go without saying, but I figure it’s worth mentioning: Google Translate can be an awesome name-generating resource for all kinds of things besides just people (i.e. place names, organization names, object names, etc.). Simply type in a word and then try translating it into different languages until you find a word you like.
3. Should you ever need to give your character’s pet a cool name, check out this extensive database of pet names (includes options for cats, dogs, birds, fish, ferrets, rabbits, horses, mice, snakes, pigs, rats, hamsters, turtles, and guinea pigs).
4. Literary agent Rachelle Gardner offers this fabulous blog post on how to title your book. It’s a resource I fully intend to utilize once I get around to reworking my WIP (I highly doubt the book will actually end up being called Unfamiliar Spellings).
5. A caveman melanges remarks is an anagram for anagrams make clever names. And you know it’s true! Take the Internet Anagram Server (a.k.a I, Rearrangement Servant) for a spin and see if you come up with something clever/interesting!
6. Need a fantastical-sounding name for your speculative fiction? Check out this jackpot of name generators for everything from Greek-sounding to Lovecraftian-sounding to just plain evil-sounding names.
7. Finally…yeah, you saw this coming, right? Some interesting/humorous commentary on names/naming from the Vlogbrothers. First, the story of the woman of many names–Gussie Audrey Horsey Gowen Manlove Brown:
Next, six people who thrived despite their unfortunate names:
And last but not least, some advice from Hank on how NOT to name your kid. However, I think this could be useful info on HOW to name your characters if you’re looking to get them teased about their names!
And with that, I’m signing off. I’ve got a crazy week ahead of me, but hopefully I’ll see you on Thursday!