Impossible to name characters?

Hello everyone. I have a problem when it comes to naming my characters. I don’t like specifying a particular city or even country for my stories. This poses a challenge for me when naming my characters, because I don’t like to pick names that can be tied to a specific country of origin. For example, I don’t want to pick a name that makes readers go, “Oh, that’s usually an Italian name, so they must be in [name_f]Italy[/name_f].” At the same time, I dislike obvious “fantasy names” (like long elf names). I want names that sound believable, modern, and easy for readers to remember, but it just seems impossible without picking names that sound like they’re from a certain country. Any suggestions? Thank you.

Are you writing a book set on [name_f]Earth[/name_f]? If you are, I think specifying a city and country is actually pretty important, unless of course the stories are short enough that it isn’t important. Setting means a lot, and anything longer than a short story will probably need a wider setting outside of just one place.


These should all be pretty international.

Perhaps a solution could be to widely vary the names you use in terms of nationality? Maybe not super drastically but enough that the reader doesn’t go “that’s obviously in [name_f]Italy[/name_f].” It seems like a simple enough way to still choose the names you love and then… simply don’t specify which country you’re writing the story in. That said, if you’re writing a story not set in this world and don’t want to use names tied to this world yet don’t like fantasy or sci-fi names, you might have to choose which category you dislike the least.

I agree with @midwinter that by choosing diverse names you can make it unclear where the story takes place. If the names don’t all fit one category, it will be less likely a reader assumes a location in their mind.

Depending on the readers’ nationality, they will pronounce any name accordingly. [name_m]Even[/name_m] with some names, such as [name_m]Angelo[/name_m], which is known to be from a certain nation ([name_f]Italy[/name_f]), you can change them a bit, or you can add other names with different origins. This will create a random setting, for lack of a better word.
There are also names that are universal or have so many variations no one knows which is the original. Here are a couple examples:


[name_f]Hope[/name_f] this helps!

  • BMJ

[name_f]Nova[/name_f], [name_u]Freedom[/name_u], [name_f]Elowen[/name_f], [name_f]Alexandrine[/name_f], [name_f]Ebony[/name_f], [name_f]Sera[/name_f], [name_u]Mason[/name_u]
[name_u]James[/name_u], [name_u]Shawn[/name_u], [name_m]Theodore[/name_m], [name_m]Ethan[/name_m], [name_m]Mateo[/name_m], [name_m]Rafael[/name_m], [name_m]Asher[/name_m],

Teen writer obsessed with names, reading more often than writing.