How do you come up with names for your characters? I know there are all kinds of ways, but what have you used or heard about others using?
I most often use baby naming websites such as this one – http://babynames.net/all/english
As you can see on the left of the screen, you can browse by ethnicity and other categories. If you are writing historical fiction, you can see a list of names by popularity in a given decade.
Each name also includes its meaning, allowing you to choose a name that matches an attribute of your character or, as a twist, an attribute that your character despises.
This tool is also helpful for choosing names in a fantasy setting. It helps to pick old, no-longer-popular names from ancient languages like Greek, Hindu, Celtic, or Arabic. If one baby name site doesn’t help you, there are many more out there to try.
If you want strange names for fantasy creatures, I suggest using a fantasy-name generator such as this one – http://fantasynamegenerators.com/. When the site provides a name you like, it is probably best to tweak the name slightly to ensure that the name you choose is unique.
If anyone has ideas to add, be sure to comment, and if you have a question you would like to see addressed here, then send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.