Home » Writing » Oh, that’s your name too, is it? And yours as well?!

Oh, that’s your name too, is it? And yours as well?!

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Coming up with character names can be an interesting and fun thing to do. I like to find names with meaning, a name that represents some part of the character’s personality or appearance. I don’t know why, it’s just something I am keen on doing 😀

But I’ve noticed something happening.

After I find these great unique names, suddenly, I see them EVERYWHERE!

I chose the name Otto for one of the characters in my current book, and I was rather pleased with myself for finding a simple, yet interesting name I hadn’t heard of before.

Then, the very next day on a forum, I see the name pop up for someone’s pet. I then hear it for a character on TV.

I had never even known of that name before, then I heard it twice the next day 😀

This has now happened a few times with unusual character names. Maybe I’d heard them before but hadn’t taken notice? Possibly I’m being hyper-aware after spending so long searching for the name? Whatever it is, it’s something that always seems to happen lately.

For my next book, I am using relatively common names to suit the contemporary setting, so I’m not so worried. But in the future if do another fantasy, maybe I will just have to make up names from scratch!

Has this ever happened to you? Do you like using character names with meaning? Do you make up names or use real ones?

Progress Report:

Status of Fourth Manuscript: With the readers (2/3 returned). Cover done, blurb written.

Books read: 2/4

July eBook review: Written and ready.

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49 thoughts on “Oh, that’s your name too, is it? And yours as well?!

  1. I use a baby name book and baby name site to help if I don’t try to design a unique name. Thankfully fantasy has that loophole. Though I do see names everywhere after I use them. I don’t know if it’s simply timing or that I suddenly become more aware of every appearance.

    • I find baby naming sites very useful, especially the ones with a variety of categories like historical names or different cultures.

      But yeah, I don’t know what it is, but those names just pop up everywhere once I’ve decided on them 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

      • You’re welcome. Honestly, the same thing happens when naming a kid. We rarely heard my son’s name even though it’s very popular. Once he was born, we ran into an Aidan everywhere we went.

  2. Actually, I ran into this the other day – one of my characters is named Lucien, a name I had never seen/heard before. Just the other day, Taylor Grace reviewed a romance with a Lucien in it!!! Crazy, no?

    • At least it’s not just me! Thought I might have been going a bit crazy for awhile 😀

      They do seem to keep coming up just after we’ve picked though!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  3. It’s always an interesting task; getting a name that’s unique but without being too odd and unapproachable. I think some writers get a bit carried away trying to be too different, especially in fantasy. If a reader doesn’t know how to pronounce a name without being told then you’re in trouble! 😉

    With The Vessel I chose traditional names that have very specific meaning to the role each character plays in the story. With my current WIP however, I’ve opted for somewhat common names to match the modern setting but also to create the idea of the characters being an ‘every-man’ or ‘every-woman’; the idea that extraordinary circumstances can befall anyone 🙂

    • I agree, I chose simpler but unusual names for my fantasy book to suit the magical-type setting, but also so a reader can read them easily without stopping every time wondering how it’s supposed to be pronounced 😀

      That’s a very good point though, about how a name can create an impression of a character. I’m going to have to remember that for my next WIP as well! Thank you for sharing it 🙂

  4. Like Charles, I also use a baby name site. But character names depend on the story.
    I like to use names that mean something. There’s nothing worse than choosing a name for a hero and finding that it means “deceiver.”

    • Very true, it is nice to have a name with a meaning, even if the reader never know what that is. As long as I know, then it makes me happy 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  5. I do both, sometimes if I’m struggling I’ll look through name websites but sometimes the characters just appear fully formed in my head with names and back stories! But once I’ve picked a name, I’m like you, I just see it everywhere!

  6. I like to find names with meaning, too! I think a name speaks to the essence of a person. If parents are thoughtful about naming their babies, then we should do the same about our “babies”, too! 🙂

    Am loving the new look of your blog.

    • You’re totally right, a name can mean so much, and having a bit of a special name means that the character feels more important! 😀

      Glad you like the new look, I loved the theme when I saw it!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting 🙂

    • If they sound good to you, then it’s good to go with your instinct on what you like 😀

      Glad you like the new look! I thought it was probably time for an update 🙂

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

  7. Loving the new look! And LOL on those names suddenly popping up everywhere. For me, I find naming characters different for each story. Sometimes I pick them for their meanings but most of the time it’s really the feel/sound of the name in relation to the character and how I imagine them to be.

    • I know, right? 😀 You find this incredible name that is unique and never heard before then BAM! Absolutely everywhere!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  8. I use baby name sites and I love to know what names mean so I can associate a personality to the name. The worst thing that has happened to me is naming a character and then finding that name is associated with someone who has committed a heinous crime! Quick – change that name! lol 😀

    • I know what you mean! It is awkward when you find a perfect name and then realise it’s the name of someone who’s done something… not so good 😀 It certainly puts an impression on the name!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  9. Yes, it has happened to me too. Sometimes I use common names and sometimes I make them up. For the names I invent, I do a Google search afterward and see what pops up. Many times, I find the same name on online games like Worlds of Warcraft and such. If that’s the case, I tweak the name I created until nothing exactly like it comes up.

    • That’s a good idea! Tweaking it until it’s unique enough, I never thought about doing that.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, think that will be a tip I will be using in the future 🙂

  10. The Social Security Administration has a first name frequency ranking that goes back to 1880.

    I decided to change the names of a couple of characters when I found out that there had been real people who had recently died, who’d had the same names and occupations, who were unknown to me but were well known in the part of the world I was writing about. The standard disclaimer probably would have covered my use of those names, but I just didn’t feel comfortable about the coincidence. Using the name of someone who’s been dead for a much longer time feels okay.

    • There are a lot of things to consider when choosing names, especially ones that can be quite common and used by real people. It’s never good if people think you are basing a character off someone real!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  11. Once I thought that I made a pretty unique name: Poi (it was going to be seawater creature’s name…sorta like Koi minus the “K”). Anyway, it turns out that Poi is actually a Hawaiian food. Go figure.

    Sometimes I base a name off of a character meaning but not all the time. I only do that unless I know what I want from my character.

    Making up names is fun for fantasy or scifi projects. 🙂

    • Making up names is great fun, especially when you can hit upon something that sounds so perfect for the setting and character!

      Poi sounds like an awesome name, and it being a Hawaiian food kinda just makes it even better 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  12. When I come up with names, I try to pick names that fit the time and place the characters are in–sort of like you mentioned. In my stories, I feel I have picked fairly familiar names, with a few being uncommon, but definitely names I have heard before so not truly unique. But now that you mentioned it, I am considering thinking outside the box and coming up with more unique names in my future stories 🙂

    • I do try to add unique names, especially in fantasy and things, as I hope it adds to that element of fantasy and magic. But I try to keep them easy, so as readers don’t get stuck trying to pronounce them 😀

      It’s good fun though trying to find some new and different sounding names!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  13. I struggle with names because I often see characters in my head and find it difficult to find an appropriate name to match this image of them! I sometimes as my girls to shout out names at random and pluck the one that fits!

    • I can see how it would be handy having people to help come up with names 😀

      It is hard when you can see a character clearly and then to be able to choose a name for them that fits!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  14. I kind of go all over the place with names, but I’ve been aiming for patterns lately. I used to just make up names, even visit a name generator. Then I got into names that meant something. Now I’m trying to do a little bit of both.

  15. I love thinking of characters names. I tend to like unusual names. Even the cat, dog, etc in my book get great names. Cat – Shadow, Dog – Toby. I started off calling the dog Clarence but decided against this as this is my friend’s son name so thought I better not!

    • I love the name Toby for a dog! 😀

      You’re right though, it is great fun coming up with character names, trying to find that perfect one to suit the character you’ve created!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  16. I am obsessed with finding meaningful names for both characters and settings. I found settings names to be especially frustrating. Like, how hard should it be to name a mysterious, fictional island? If you want it to be original, apparently very hard.

    Also, a long time after finishing the first draft and becoming attached to a name for one of my characters, I decided to look at the meaning behind the name. It was then that I realized I named my beautiful, supernatural, zen-like warrior character…after a laxative 😦

    • I do like finding meaningful names, though I can see how that would be hard for setting names! It can take a long time to come up with something original to suit the genre.

      Your poor warrior character! 😀 At least you managed to look it up before using it, or that might have been awkward!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting 🙂

  17. I agree! Fictional settings are very hard to name, especially if you want a name that is not familiar. I named my FICTIONAL town in Northern California “Clearwater” forgetting that there is a Clearwater, Florida. Oh well…. I’m also obsessed with not using the same first letter in any two characters’ names. It’s tricky because we tend to like certain consonants. Do only writers think this way? We must be crazy!!

    • I think writers do tend to overthink things 😀 As a reader, I know I just go with the flow on a lot of place names that an author creates, but choosing one myself can take forever!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting 🙂

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