Naming Your Darlings: A Guide to Character Names

Great sites to find character names.

Kristen Twardowski


When I was young, names fascinated me. That interest did not translate into a talent for actually naming creatures. (After all, I called my first pet, a very adorable Teddy Bear Hamster, “Teddy”. Not a terribly inspired choice.) Despite my increases in age and, theoretically, wisdom, I have not improved my ability to name people, animals, or places, but as a writer, I am frequently faced with choosing appellations.

Though I sometimes pull names out of thin air, I often find myself asking several questions to decide what name is appropriate. These include things like:

  • When was the character born?
  • Where was the character born?
  • What was the character’s family like? Erudite? Of the Earth? Traditional? Revolutionary?
  • Does the family have strong ties to a particular place or religion?
  • What hopes did the family have for the character, and does the name reflect them?
  • Are there family names? (For example…

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