What's in a name? Sometimes Character names are easy: sometimes not. Since I've had books set in Germany, South Florida, Burning Man Festival, and my current WIP is set in 1953 Kansas, I feel like an expert on names.
What I do when I began a novel is create a Word table name chart. First name, Last name, page first mentioned, who this character is. I can sort the table by first name or last name. The trick is not to have character names that look or sound alike. You don't want Wayne, Warren, and Warner. Or Mary, Maria and Marilyn. Nope. Don't do it. If you have ethnic characters they should have appropriate names. Rich people often have different kind of names than poor ones. Bob Jones vs. Robert Richmond Jones, III.
In Festival Madness, I had lots of fun making up Burning Man names (everyone needs one) and hacker names One. of my main male characters was Wayne. His hacker name is the Locksmith. He can break into any computer. Makes sense. My female POV character is Emma, who calls herself Dust Bunny at Burning Man.Indian characters are Reena and Raj. I worked with a very techie guy named Wayne, and Reena and Raj's true story got into the book, too. But these people are all long ago and far away. Must confess I stole of lot of people and places for that book.
In my German romantic suspense novel, World of Mirrors, I had Americans (good and bad) Germans, naturally, Russians, and even a Vietnamese man. I called a glamorous woman Romy, after the actress Romy Schneider. The name must fit the character. I used the physical attributes of a couple of men where I worked. Name, description, character: everything should fit together.
My recent challenge is my latest book, a mystery although it seems to be turning into a romance but that is a different story. In the novel, tentative title Lizzie Bender Ledoux, I had to find typical Mennonite names, French names, "regular" names, and even names for the pets.
When I begin to write, I start a Word Table to use as a character chart with a column for each topic below.
Since it's a word table, it can be sorted by first name or last name.
First Name Last Name Who Page Introduced Incidentals
Research may be necessary. For instance, to Google Mennonite last names.
<Mennonite Names in Pennsylvania>.
Right away I hit pay dirt.
Something else you need to do is take a look at the most popular names from the period in which you are writing. Pick a few way down the list, too. Even animal names can be trendy. I called the three pointer dogs in my book, "Spot," "Mike", and "Freckles." The cat is "Callie."
These are things that work for me. Check out the other writers on this blog roll to see what creative ideas they have.
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-2i7
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/