Holden Caulfield, Jay Gatsby, Sherlock Holmes: These are just a few examples of great, memorable character names.
A strong name can start your character off on the right foot, but coming up with great character names can be surprisingly difficult. You want names that are unique, that say something about your character, but that your readers can easily remember.
It’s a balancing act, but don’t worry—we’ve rounded up the tools to help you.
How to Choose a Character Name
Here are a few things to consider when choosing character names.
Names Should Line Up with Genre
Remember the genre you’re writing in. If you’re writing a historical fiction novel, for example, make sure your characters’ names are appropriate for the time period in which your book is set. You probably don’t want to use a new, modern name if you’re writing a novel that takes place in the year 1750. Think of the world you’re creating, and what names make sense in that context.
Names Should Line Up with the Character’s Background
Where is your character from? Where are their parents from? What is their culture? Where do they live? Even if these details aren’t a part of your story, fully imagining your character in this way will help you choose a name that is appropriate for them.
Character Name Generator Tools
If you’re feeling stuck, character name generator tools can help get your creative juices flowing—and you might even find the perfect name for your character.
Here’s a list of character name generators that you can try.
1. Character Name Generator
Character Name Generator has more than 220,000 names in its database. It allows you to choose a personality trait, birth year, nationality, religion, and more.
Reedsy can generate more than 1,000,000 character names using filters such as language, genre, and more.
3. Name Generator Fun
Name Generator Fun lets you choose from a range of categories to zero in on the perfect name. There are categories for type of character, such as superhero names, pirate names, and vampire names, as well as cultural categories such as Korean, Italian, French, and Native American.
4. Fantasy Name Generators
Fantasy Name Generators is a compendium of name generators that can help you create names for characters, places, and more.
5. Behind the Name
Behind the Name has more than 21,000 names in its database. It generates random character names from all cultures and periods, mythology, and fiction.
6. Random Name Generator
Random Name Generator generates more than 480 million names by using first and last name data from the US census.
7. Name Generator
Name Generator offers character names in a wide variety of genres, as well as place names, team names, and more.
8. The Starman Series
The Starman Series can not only generate names, but also mini character bios that include hair and eye color, hometown, job, hobbies, marital status, personality traits, and more.
9. Random Lists Name Generators
Random Lists’ name generators randomly generate boy names, girl names, last names, nicknames, and more.
10. Writer’s Character Name Generator
Writer’s Character Name Generator produces random sets of names. It does not allow you to choose any categories, but claims to produce names that are neither boring nor outrageous.
If you liked this post, here are some other articles you might love:
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- The Best Novel Writing Software: Tools Every Fiction Writer Should Use in 2018
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.