Character Naming Methods

Here, I’ll provide my two cents on creating my character names, which generally consist of two categories:

  1. Relevance - Depending on the importance of my characters, I choose to give names that range from quite unique to rather unremarkable. For instance, my protagonists and other important characters, I’ve chosen to give (what I hope is) unique and memorable names. Side characters receive more common and less eye-catching names.

  2. Realism - this may be a subjective rule, but I’m a realist to my core and try to mirror reality as much as I want to, but I’ll betray this rule if I like a name too much.

For example, my story takes place in rural Arkansas and consists of a 5-member, middle-class family. The father, [name_m]Henry[/name_m] [name_m]Ingmar[/name_m] Mortenson, is the quiet, passive breadwinner of the family. The mother, [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] [name_f]Theophania[/name_f] Mortenson (née Bermingham) is strict, religious, and domineering. Their son is [name_m]Sebastian[/name_m] [name_m]Torquil[/name_m] Mortenson, their eldest daughter is [name_f]Harper[/name_f] [name_f]Annamarie[/name_f] Mortenson, and their youngest daughter (who is adopted) is [name_f]Skyla[/name_f] [name_f]Blythe[/name_f] Mortenson.

(As a side note, I also take into consideration the heritage of my characters when naming them. As such, [name_m]Henry[/name_m] -who is of Scandinavian and [name_m]German[/name_m] descent- is named with that ethnicity in mind. [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f], who is of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon descent, as well as having been raised in a highly religious environment, is named appropriately. This applies to their children as well.)

As you can see, several of the names I gave blended familiar and unique elements to maintain realism while still being distinctive, something I hope adheres to my two rules. If you’d like to add onto this discussion by providing your own naming methods, please do! I love others’ input.