Me along with millions of writers out there (yes, that numbers is taken without any form of scientific reference but rather a gross estimate by myself and no one else) think this is one of the most daunting thing in the writing process.
A lot of people have built of mile long lists of names, me included. But to be completely honest, when it comes to naming a character I usually never chose a name on those list because I have a tendency to save names that fit in a high fantasy novel while all of my wiring is either contemporary or fantasy-ish set in our modern world. Which means names like Nox, Tri and Theta might be more suitable for a dystopian or fantasy story than my usual ideas.
This is totally okay though. Because as fun as it is to have a name or two be a bit whacky for our modern society they can’t all be Noxes. So I along with the rest of the writing society goes to the baby name websites. If you’re reading this I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
But here’s my problem, while I want my characters to have “normal” names, I don’t want them to be from the top 100 lists. I want the names to be recognizable, I want there to be no questions on how to pronounce them. But I don’t want it to be a name you’ll find in every classroom throughout the country.
So for my nano-project this year I have an assortment of character names. One of my MCs have one of the most common names I’ve ever given a character- and I love it, it rolls of the tongue perfectly. My other MC have a whacky family name but a very generic nickname. I’ve named one of my kick ass secondary characters after my grandmother.
I think there’s a million places to look for character names. Most of us own books, authors names might be a place to start. Or look in you local paper and see if any name sticks out to you. Look at you family tree, ask for your friends for their favorite names. Look at the name of sport stars, friends friends on Facebook. The possibilities are endless.
Whatever you do, don’t name a character after a real life person in your life. If you ever do get published they might have some uncomfortable questions. Especially if there namesake turns out to be the villain.