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Wednesday Writing Prompt: What’s in a Name?

I have spent a lot of time paging through various baby name books, looking for the perfect name for … the fictional characters I create. I’ve read that J. K. Rowling, author of the bestselling Harry Potter series, chose and created character names based on the meaning of root words in Latin, Greek, and French.

Your assignment: Take a look at your current work in progress or the novel you are planning to write for Camp NaNoWriMo. Look up each character name in a baby name book.

*How do your character names fit the personality and role of your characters? Consider the meaning of the name, the historical significance, and how the name sounds when spoken aloud.

*How do they conflict with the characters’ personality and role?

*If necessary, rename your characters.

Bonus: Have you ever wanted to write under a pseudonym? I’m a wee bit jealous of children’s authors who have dreamed up wonderful nom de plumes: Lemony Snicket and Pseudonymous Bosch. Have some fun dreaming up a pen name of your own. Of course, if you are feeling less-than-creative, visit the pen name generator for help. The site gave me the lovely name: Our Lady Bonbons.

Your turn: Post your pseudonym in the comments below or let us in on your favorite character-naming resource!


5 Responses

  1. steph kilen

    Wow! I actually woke up thinking about the names of the characters in my novel this morning. It takes place in the future and I’ve decided Biblical names will be all the rage. Older folks will have names that are popular baby names now. A few characters have names that don’t fit these parameters, but they are so formed and attached to the names in my mind, I’m not sure I want to change their names. dilemma.

  2. This is something I’ve been fretting over for the last few days. I can’t seem to find names that fit some of the characters for the book I’ll be writing during Camp NaNoWriMo. Usually, I look up what names were popular around the time that the character would have been born. Then I compare the character with the meaning of the name, and decide whether it seems to click with the character. However, I’m not having much luck with that method right now.

    1. writenowcoach

      Kristen, I like your method. Thank you for sharing it. Sometimes I do random online searches of genealogy websites to find names. I especially like lists of names from different countries. Good luck!

  3. Pingback : Wednesday Writing Prompt: What's in a Name? | Write Now Coach … - the-meaning-of-names

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