Name That Character!

National Novel Writing Month started last week. Writers around the world are wrestling with plot, setting, characters.

That last one can be a bit tricky. Naming characters has always been my least favorite part of the process. In fact, I probably wrote the majority of the first volume of my graphic novel script referring to the two main characters as Writer Girl and Actor Boy. I used to keep a baby naming book in my stack of writing books to help me, but it pretty much only contained English names, and I needed more than that.

There are tons of name generators on the web, but I like my character names to have something of a purpose when possible, so those don’t work for me, either. offers some tips for naming a character, but those don’t necessarily work for me, either. The very first tip is to keep names distinct, and my current series doesn’t do that. I intentionally named a pair of characters who are frequently near the main character “Michael” and “Miguel”. The story is set in a school, and you have and incredible chance of running into people with the same or similar names, so I had this pair. The two are quite different, and their relationships with the other characters are pretty different. No one has any trouble differentiating between them.

PoeWar also offers links to other naming resources. If you’re trying to name a character and are feeling stuck, give them a try. Just remember to Google your created name to make sure it isn’t a real person, or that your character is absolutely nothing like the real person.


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