Character Names: 5 Tips That Help Writers Pick Great Character Names


Coming up with the perfect name for a character is one of the most challenging tasks that a writer faces. It can be difficult to find a name that fits the character, the genre, and the overall story. To help, here are five tips that writers can use to help pick great character names.

1. Understand the Character

The most important thing to remember when picking a character name is that it should fit the character. Think about the character’s personality, background, and even physical features. A good name should convey the character’s identity and help the reader to better understand the character. For example, if the character is strong and independent, a name like “Lara” or “Raj” might be a good choice. If the character is more introverted, a name like “Mia” or “Ethan” might be more appropriate.

2. Consider the Genre

The genre of the story can also play a role in choosing a name. For example, if the story is set in a fantasy world, a name like “Arya” or “Gandalf” might be more suitable. If the story is set in a contemporary world, names like “Haley” or “Dylan” might be the better choice. Consider the genre and the setting when deciding on a name.

3. Research Cultural Names

Cultural names can be a great way to add depth to a character. Researching cultural names can help give characters a unique and interesting identity. For example, if the character is of Indian descent, a name like “Riya” or “Amar” might be fitting. If the character is from the Caribbean, a name like “Kai” or “Jasmine” might be more appropriate.

4. Use Alliteration

Using alliteration can be a great way to make a character’s name stand out. Alliteration is when a name has two or more words that start with the same letter. For example, “Lila Lee” or “Peter Parker” are examples of alliteration. This can be an effective way to make a character’s name memorable and unique.

5. Avoid Overly Common Names

Finally, avoid using overly common names. While it may be tempting to use names like “John” or “Emily,” they can make it difficult for readers to differentiate between characters. Instead, try to find more unique or interesting names that stand out.

6. Have Fun With It

Picking a character name should be fun. Writers should feel free to experiment and play around with different ideas. Don’t be afraid to try out different combinations or ideas until you find the perfect name.

7. Use Name Generators

Name generators are a great tool for writers who are struggling to find the perfect name. These generators allow writers to generate random names based on a variety of factors such as gender, ethnicity, and even letter combinations. This can be a great way to come up with unique and interesting names.

8. Look to Nature

Nature can be a great source of inspiration when it comes to naming characters. Look to words like “Lark” or “Willow” that describe animals or plants. These names can be a great way to give characters a natural and unique identity.

9. Consider Meaningful Names

Finally, consider giving characters meaningful names. Names can have a lot of symbolic meaning and can help to convey a character’s identity and backstory. For example, a name like “Hope” might be used to describe a character who is hopeful and optimistic.

10. Consider the Surname

In addition to the first name, consider the surname as well. Surnames can be a great way to add a sense of family and history to a character. For example, a surname like “Smith” might be used to denote a character who is part of a large family.


Choosing a character name can be a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these tips, writers can come up with the perfect name for their characters. Remember to consider the character, the genre, and the setting when picking a name. Research cultural names, use alliteration, and look to nature for inspiration. Finally, consider the surname and have some fun with the process. With a little bit of creativity and research, writers can come up with great character names that will help tell their story. For a work of fiction to come alive, characters must become more than words on a page. Character names are an integral part of creating memorable, interesting personalities that readers can easily visualize. With that in mind, here are five tips to help writers pick great character names.

First, if the story takes place in a specific country, culture, or time period, the names should reflect it. Research the names that would be most commonly used by people of that time, place, or setting. Avoid combinations of naes that don’t fit the era or sound awkward.

Second, make sure the character’s name fits the character type. Give protagonists resonant and meaningful names that may even hint at their personality traits or story arcs. For villains, consider something more malicious or suggestive of the character’s intent. For example, the villain in James Bond movies are usually named after a type of animal.

Third, try to avoid overused names, especially in the same genre or among similar stories. Readers may quickly start associating names with other characters in other recent works.

Fourth, check the meaning and phonetic sound of the character’s name. Ensure the spelling is similar to the intended language or cultural context, and avoid outrageous spellings that could get lost in translation.

Finally, try to keep the same type of accentuation throughout the story. For instance, if the protagonist’s name is John, try to keep other names starting with J throughout the story and avoid unnecessary variations such as Jan or Jon.

By using these five tips for naming fictional characters, writers can create meaningful and interesting identities that resonate with readers. In the end, great character names will help readers quickly understand and care about the story characters.

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