Writing

Name That Story Character

Sean Connery in Thunderball (1965)

As a fictional story writer, you need good character names. John might work for an incidental role, but here are suggestions to find meaningful names.

What’s in a Name?

I’m going to mention some iconic movie character names and see if you can identify the film. Have you heard of Edna Mode? She’s number 100 on a list of greatest movie characters compiled in the year 2020. At number 92, perhaps Inspector Clouseau is more familiar. Can you name an iconic film with this character?

Naming Story Characters

Do you like action films? Perhaps Ethan Hunt is seared into your brain. Haven’t been to the theater in a while? What about Atticus Finch? The latter name appears in a legendary 1962 movie. You can also read a book by the same name.

Okay, here’s an easier one, rated number 11 on the list of most popular characters. Michael Corleone dominated the theaters from 1972 to 1990. It’s time for an easy one. His name has become part of a global movie franchise that has been packing theaters from 1962 through today. Name any movie starring James Bond.

You Name It

This exercise is important because, as a fictional story writer, you want to choose powerful enduring names for your characters. There are several ways to do this. Perhaps you have an innate ability to conceive names off the top of your head. With a knowledge of linguistics, you might piece together names that embody the role of characters.

If possible, you can scroll through a long customer database for names that stand out. It helps to perform a Google search to see how popular they are. Uniqueness is key.

Many websites suggest baby names, beyond the most common. Often, they provide the origins and meanings. These can be a resource for discovering character names.

Fans of technology prefer to use name generation tools. Some, like Name Generator, are available online. This one allows you to specify a number of characteristics before it provides a list of options. The downside is that the site is busy with multiple Suggest buttons and third-party advertisements. Once you get near the bottom of the page, click the button labeled Write me some character names.

Using the generator, you can take into account the race, gender, religious background, and type of character. For example, choose either a leader or evil villain. If you don’t use this tool, which is your preference?

You may not have an A-List actor to bring your story to life. However, you don’t need to settle on common names. If you’re ready, build a list of great characters for your next story.

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