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Naming Names…And How I Do It

by on May 24, 2013

One of my favorite parts about putting characters into words is giving them a name. This is something that I take very seriously. The names of my mains reflect something about their character or their upbringing.

CowboyFor instance one of my favorite characters is Kevin Miller of In the Moment.  Regular name, right?

Right! Kevin is a regular guy – drives a truck, works in renovation, drinks domestic beer. He also has that one thing that makes a romantic hero for me. He loves the heroine well.

Then there are Darcey and Vincent of Dèjá Vu. The name Darcey as a first name has Irish roots and means ‘dark’. I chose this name because the vibrant beauty hides a dark place in her soul. The name Vincent is of Latin origin and means ‘to prevail’ or ‘to conquer’. That’s why he’s the hero.Young black woman wearing dress and sun hat, afro hairstyle

When I’m outlining a piece, I try to think of the one thing that I want the reader to know about the character and then begin my search for a name.

If I want something to convey status or upbringing, my favorite spot is the Official Site of the U.S. Social Security Administration. I use this to find the most popular names of the year in which my character was born and find one that suits him or her. In a WIP I’ve been toying with, the hero is 35. In his birth year the top five male names were: Michael, Jason, Christopher, David and James. I didn’t choose any of these. His name came closer to a hundred for his birth year, but you get the idea. You can also choose names by decade and by state. It’s a pretty cool site.

If I’m looking for meaning, my go-to site is Not only can you search for a specific meaning or specific origin but it has some great articles like, Tips for Writers! I also like the trending now names for those expecting couples. As of the writing of this post, five of the top names were: Iris, Hayden, James, Lincoln and Asher. (And for the record I wanted to name my future son, Asher. I was in high school when I had this idea. I’m taking credit for its new found popularity.)

That’s how I do it. What about y’all?


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