Check out the new book I just got: The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby
No, I’m not having a baby. I just get wickedly excited when I find a writing resource that’s a gem (at least for me).
Lately when it comes time to give my secondary characters their names, I’ve been drawing a blank, selecting the same ones over and over or not finding something that fits the character. For my current works in progress I had two secondary characters whom I affectionately called “Editor Friend” and “Prof Guy” for far too long. For a while I was afraid I’d get so dang used to “Editor Friend” and “Prof Guy” that I’d send it off to my editor like that. It was nice to finally pull out my baby name resources and search for actual names for these guys.
Lists that are organized or searchable in specific ways (by first letter, sounds like, meaning, popularity per year, etc.) are the most helpful. So far The Baby Name Wizard is the best naming book I’ve used, along with these websites:
And for last names I almost always end up using a printed phone book.
For any writers who are interested, these links have also been added to my website on the Resources for Writers page.
I’m off to work on revisions for my next installment of More Than Just a Good Book. Hope you all have a great week!
I actually have a tip for you on the name thing! Paperback Writer had a great post on picking character names a few weeks ago. Picking the to 100 names by year is brilliant.
Thanks for sharing that link, Chris. I’ve seen that Social Security page before, but always forget to check it out when I’m looking for names. A list of names by year the character was born is a great idea. I’d never seen Wordle before. I love the name cloud. I’m such a visual person.
I always wondered how some writers chose character names…..seems like each book I read, every character has THE perfect name. I didn’t realize naming a character could be just as time-consuming as plotting the actual book.
And I have to note here, since we are talking about names I will always call it “Walter’s Story” *grins*
Hi Elaine. I probably spend most of my “naming” time thinking about names for my secondary characters. A lot of it’s making sure I haven’t used it before and that it doesn’t conflict with another character in the story but also finding something that fits that person since there may be little else in the story to describe them. I try not to start two names with the same letter or use ones that sound too similar so I’ve started a spreadsheet that I can sort by story or by name. I’ve used at least one name that was the same in two stories so I make sure to check now.
I think it’ll always be Walter’s Story for me too. Someday that poor book will get a name. I have two ideas, but I’m not ready to commit to either until I go back through the manuscript another time.
You’re very welcome!