What are your favorite ways to coming up with character names?

Discussion in 'Role-Play Discussion' started by Checkerdog, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. I love making characters! But I always find myself struggling to find the perfect name. Does anyone else have this problem? And/or what are your favorite ways to come up with that perfect name?
  2. For me it's a combination of my own inspiration and the ethnicity/culture of the character. I play a lot of different settings from fantasy to sci-fi and most of these settings have alien/fantasy races. I like taking parts of names that exist and add something to them. My current characters last name is Brot, mainly because I saw that his species in star trek has the last name Brot'la in some canon and I thought it was a good way to slap my stamp on it while not straying to far away.

    For human characters I mostly just google the most common names in countries with a major ethnic population or culture that corresponds with my character.
  3. I have this weird OCD like thing where I struggle with having characters who's name start with the same letter... like... I can't have an Alice and an Andrew... so I cross letters off my list as I make characters.

    I mostly use baby name genie and behind the name for inspiration. Although the former can be a bit 'out there' with the suggestions. Anyone would think it wanted the whole world the be called Phoenix Destiny or something hahaha
  4. I take into account the character's ethnicity and time period, first of all, because there are names which in the 18-th century were for men (Ashley, Jocelyn, Vivian, Meredith, Aubrey, Leslie, Sidney etc) and now they are for women. Also there are names unheard of in certain periods. Sometimes I come right away with the name, sometimes I need a names' list. More often the surname is taken from a list than the given name.
  5. I use the random renamer on Behind the Name. LOL
  6. Make them up, mesh languages together or use name generators. Sometimes I just get good naming ideas. Lately, they are getting taken by my users who need naming help.
  7. I generally search on websites for names depending on the background of the character. The last name is typically whatever the heritage of my character happens to be. Occasionally, if I hear a name I really like, I'll create a character based from that, though this hasn't happened in awhile.
  8. I usually gain inspiration from some of the most random sources, like obscure soaps and names I hear on the radio. Quite often I'll hear a name and somehow instantly visualize a snapshot of that character. Unfortunately, I never write the good ones down at the time, so when it comes to actually creating a character I'm stuck for hours!
    Elena likes this.
  9. Something we make use of is that we have naming conventions for countries, some strict, some others not so much but they all give you at least some ideas already and can give characters also some more culture - if the parents abided the naming convention of their country, that is.
    Elena likes this.
  10. whenever i see a pretty name i save it in a list on my computer, but if i'm not feeling any of those for a particular character i'll just end up stalking baby naming websites until i see something that fits nicely
    Elena likes this.
  11. I honestly just put random letters together until I come up with something that pleases me. I sometimes take a famous name and change it a bit to create a parallel with a certain theme or myth.
  12. I generally seek the key characteristic of the character; i.e. 'strength' or 'perseverence' and I look up names fitting that meaning.
    I have a cop named Alex cause it means 'defender of man'. Which seems fitting
  13. When it comes to character names I just seem to come up with most of them off the top of my head. My inspiration for my characters most times is through fantasy novels. Other than that I mean most of the ones I think of are mine originally and they are usually always unique or never seen. I do have a few that I just named to name them and used normal names.
  14. I'm with other people on here. I use baby name generators and search according to their ethnicity, or that of their parents, if their adopted. Than I look at meanings. It's easier if the character is the offspring of established characters, because than I know what their personality is. Some can be a little unusual, but that makes it fun.
    Elena likes this.
  15. Depending on the setting, I use a variety of name generators, and often come up with names on my own. Fantasy stuff I try to match other existing character names. I try to avoid 'other language' names because they seem a little xenophobic; after all, in Japan 'Tiffany' might be an exotic name, and how strange is that to think? So I try to go with tolkien-esque names or come up with names on my own.

    My favorite name so far would be Ehwitu, which I came up with at probably 4-am in college after a coffee-fueled night. She turned out to be a very strong character and forged her own culture in the game. I think it died when she did--at the ripe old age of 68 (game time was VERY fast haha) with her grandson trying to keep the tribe's ways alive.
  16. I usually use Behind The Name. Sometimes I'll search for a meaning, other times just by nationality.
  17. I usually use things like behind the name and baby names. Though sometimes I just like taking letters and mixing them up as well. Like Alexander into things like Nexa, Nader, Dele, etc.

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