What’s in a Name?

While endings may be my least favorite part of writing, the part I enjoy the most is naming my characters. Weird, I know. But I like coming up with the perfect name for each character, the name that just feels right. And I like names that have an appropriate meaning for that character, too, or at least have a meaning that’s somehow linked to the character. For example, I just finished naming the characters in the new DOTD story. My MC’s name is Acacia Fauve. She’s very standoffish and untrusting, and Acacia (well, Cacia, anyway) means thorny. She was also born in the jungle (which is an important part of the story), and Fauve means “wild and uninhibited.”

What’s your process for naming characters? I make a list of the characters I need names for, with a one- or two-word tag (i.e.: the princess). Then I brainstorm words that are linked to that character. These could be character traits, physical characteristics, or background info (like the jungle thing with Acacia). Then I go to a naming website, (I like BabyNames.com) and use the search function to find names that mean those things.

It’s not an exact science, but it works pretty well. Sometimes it even works after the fact. With my Witches story, I have a king named Vassilus. I have no idea where I got that name, but one day I was looking the name up. Apparently, it’s another form of the name Basil. Which means, yes indeed, king. How’s that for happy coincedence?

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2 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Great post! It’s not weird at all! I love naming characters because even when I know so much about them, the name often adds a subtle nuance I hadn’t realized before. I sit down with a baby name book and sticky tabs. I mark every name that has a meaning that relates to my character. Then I make a list and begin eliminating. The right name usually stands out above the rest when I insert it into a sentence or two. 🙂

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    1. You’re so right: the right name usually does stand out! I love when that happens. I usually make a list of potential names, too, and then narrow it down to the perfect one.

      Good luck on your trip to London!

      Like

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