Choosing characters’ names comes easily for me. In fact, most of my characters somehow already have names when I first imagine them. Rarely do I have to think about it.
Some writers do struggle with selecting just the right name, and I can understand that. We as a society and as individuals associate certain characteristics with certain names.
What type of character would have the name Tiffany? What about Agnes? Brittany? Jane? Grace?
Chances are, each of these names invoked an image in your mind. Want to know what a cross-section of people think about the name of one of your characters? Check out Behind the Name. Find the name in question and click on “ratings.” You’ll see how many people rated that name and what they think of it in a variety of categories.
I tried this for my main character, whose name is Liz.
Here's how the 23 people who rated “Liz” feel about the name:
Good Name: 63% - Bad Name: 37%
Feminine: 85% - Masculine: 15%
Modern: 67% - Classic: 33%
Youthful: 76% - Mature: 24%
Informal: 89% - Formal: 11%
Common: 57% - Upperclass: 43%
Urban: 57% - Natural: 43%
Devious: 59% - Wholesome: 41%
Strong: 57% - Delicate: 43%
Refined: 50% - Rough: 50%
Strange: 67% - Boring: 33%
Simple: 67% - Complex: 33%
Comedic: 70% - Serious: 30%
Nerdy: 50% - Unintellectual: 50%
Many of these were tossups. Of those that had wider margins, I’d say my Liz fits the categories pretty well.
BTW, I checked the ratings for Linda … when did my name cross over into Mature (63%) vs. Youthful (37%)? Boo hoo!
How do you select your characters’ names? And what do people think about them?