Most civilization have problem coming up with cool character names, i m sorry is why some kids end up v names choose Vagena (true story) or Gaylord (Gaylord Focker is truly the worst surname ever).

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But for fiction authors it’s harder due to the fact that you need to come up v a dozen or so character names for every single story or novel.

By analysis the specify name strategies listed below you’ll certainly pick up useful an abilities in developing cool character names.

1. Choose a One native Name

Musicians have long recognized that a solitary name can be more memorable 보다 a full name.

Cher. Bono. Eminem. Adele. Drake. Enya. Moby. Pink. Usher.

None of those are traditional names you’d uncover in the baby directory. If you’re going for a single name, you’ve gained to obtain creative. Play with the sound the vowels and also consonants. Mash with each other unlike letters. Incorporate rare letters favor Z and X.

And authors have used this technique, too. Below are mine favorites.

Dim from Clockwork Orange. Not only is the a single word, it also describes that admirably.

O indigenous The Story of O, which gets bonus points due to the fact that not only is it one word, it’s only one letter. Extra bonus points due to the fact that that one letter is a metaphor for a sexual organ (The Story the O is the initial 50 Shades of Gray, folks).

2. Walk Wild with Puns, Humor and Craziness

Josh Brolin as Detective Bigfoot Bjornsen

Thomas Pynchon is the king in this category: Tyrone Slothrop. Mike Fallopian. Zepho Bark. Pig Bodine. Bigfoot Bjornsen. In fact, over there are whole websites and also books specialized solely to assessing all Pynchon’s fictitious names.

David Foster Wallace is no slouch once it pertained to generating hilarious, wild names. Mo Cheery. Todd Possalthwaite. Hal Incandenza. I love the combination of the normal an initial name through the second imaginative one.

P.G. Woodhouse, the king of British humor in the 20th century, has some doozies as well: Gussie Fink-Nottle. Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright. Tuppy Glossop. I simply want to snort.

And we have actually to encompass Don Delillo’s finest contribution for this category: Bucky Wunderlick.

3. Do the Name represent the Character’s True Nature


Charles Dickens leader the league in this form of wordplay:

Murdstone: an abusive step-father (with a name favor that, could he perhaps be a hero?)Stryver: might you imagine this character as anything various other than a tough worker?Slyme: You get three guesses even if it is this is a villain, return you’ll only need one.

Or if you want a more modern example, think of J.K. Rowling:

Draco Malfoy: together an nefarious, evil-sounding name. Draco, the Latin word because that Dragon, and also Mal meaning bad or malfeasance.Luna Lovegood. Such a sweetheart. And alliterative come boot, with those lovely Ls. But Luna, an interpretation lunar or moon, lets you recognize she’s a small wacky, too.Voldemort. Yeah, pretty lot the incarnation that evil-sounding. Mort an interpretation death, and Vold sounding like mold.

4. Turning back the partnership Between first and critical Name

I was just reading Doug Worgul’s Thin Blue Smoke and also there’s a character named Ferguson. “Is the your very first name or your last,” a small girl asks him. His first, oddly enough. Transforms out his complete name is Ferguson Glen. A an initial name for a last name, and a last surname for a first name. It’s a good reversal which makes his surname memorable.

It’s that kind of reasonable which a surname generator can’t come increase with. The surname generator will constantly give you last-name-sounding critical names, but to it is in unique, you have to use much more of the specify name strategies listed below to make sure you’re producing cool personality names.


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5. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

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One the the ideal names of every time is Major significant Major Major in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. That’s right. 4 Majors in a row. It’s an ongoing gag in Catch-22, and also it still renders me laugh even halfway v the book.

And who could forget Humbert Humbert in Nabokov’s Lolita? The repeat of his name provides him laughable, a true example of how he’s worthy the mockery.

And i apologize for going super high brow to super low brow, but Jar seasoned Binks. Richie Rich. Rin believe Tin. Woody Woodpecker.

You want genuine life examples? oh boy, carry out I have them. Honey Boo Boo is yet another example. Would certainly anyone watch a show around Honey Boo? Flavor Flav would certainly be another off the wall surface example (I apples if girlfriend remember smell Flav). Marky Mark is a an excellent example, too (and my wife still drools end him).

6. Offer Your Character Your Name

Your full name. Or just your middle name. Or a name with your initials. It offers a beloved metafictional dimension.

Are girlfriend saying that the character is you? Or are you saying that the character has something in typical with you? Or space you just subverting the divide in between fiction and nonfiction? Or space you simply messing through the reader?

Anagram that action.

7. Produce Cool personality Names by using an Anagram Generator

Pick other this personality represents, like Narcissistic, or a hoax phrase, like Travel King, and also use an anagram generator to develop a entirety bunch of variations. Choose those that sound most like cool personality names.

When you obtain rich and also famous and get asked about the name, you’ll have actually a clever explanation in your earlier pocket, a sort of inside joke for world in the know.

Or if the anagram generator doesn’t work, you deserve to look at Bookfox’s character surname generator. 

8. Offer Your personality a Prefix or Suffix

Simply including a prefix to your name is a great way come spice up an otherwise boring name. Let’s use my name together an example.

Lieutenant john Fox is much better than level ole john Fox.

Sir john Fox.Dr. John Fox.Coach man Fox.Officer john Fox.Monsignor man Fox.Reverend john Fox.

Or execute the opposite and also choose a suffix.

John Matthew Fox III.John Fox Jr.John Fox, Ph.D.

9. Use Alliteration!

That’s a command, since you need an imperative to obtain your creative juices flowing. Alliteration is therefore obvious and yet so few people consider it when developing names.

Consider Binx Bolling in pedestrian Percy’s The Moviegoer. I just want to rhyme with it: Binx is a sphinx. Binx is a minx. Binx suffuses the web page with brand-new Orleans spirit.

And remember thomas Pynchon has actually loads of wonderful alliterative names, like Meatball Mulligan and Bigfoot Bjornsen.

10. Give Your character a evil Long Name

Minimum three names, preferably 4 or five. And if you can include on a prefix or suffix, all the better.

In Raymond Queneau’s The Blue Flowers there is a character named Joachim Olinde Anastase Crepinien Honorat Irenee Mederic, and also whose initials spell out his first name (clever, no?).

Let’s not forget harry Potter lore. Carry out you mental Dumbledore’s complete name? “Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.”

The longest name in the holy bible is Isaiah’s son “Maher-shalal-hash-baz.” I would not introduce naming your character that. However I hope it inspires you!

Benno valve Archimboldi, from Roberto Bolano’s 2666. Not super long, yet a complete three words, and how can you not love this name? Don’t you love just how much info you have about the character simply from the name? This reclusive Italian writer writes Nobel-worthy fiction, which friend probably can have guessed just indigenous the surname alone (or at the very least it’s unsurprising when you hear it).

Charles Williams, that was among the lesser well-known inklings in addition to C.S. Lewis and also Tolkien, provided an impressive character name in his book War In Heaven: Aubrey Duncan Peregrine mar de Lisle D’Estrange, fight it out of the north Ridings, Marquess of Craigmullen and also Plessing, count of the holy Roman Empire, knight of the Cape and Sword, and several various other ridiculous fantasies.” That’s some name, and some title.

11. Consider a Hyphenated critical Name

A hyphen last surname tells you a lot around a character. One of two people they room French or they space a woman who has adopted your husband’s critical name and also yet wanted to retain their own last name, which means they room of a particular social class and economic level.

Plus, that looks different on the web page than everyone else’s critical name, for this reason it help the reader to distinguish between characters, and also it allows you to establish a dual-personality metaphor, a divided or separation persona.

12. Make the Name Fit the Character’s Role

Consider Hiro Protagonist, indigenous Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. If girlfriend had any doubts about who the protagonist was, well …

I have the right to just see someone giving a minor character the first name that Minor in their next novel, and also then death them off a few pages after they appear.

13. Don’t provide Your character A proper Name

Cormac McCarthy, in his wonderful novel Blood Meridian, only gives titles and also nicknames come characters. The two main personalities in the book are referred to just by your age and also by your profession: The Kid and The Judge. (Just don’t ask me what’s he a referee of).

In Jose Saramago’s book Blindness, the doesn’t give anyone names, simply calls castle by your professions. The Doctor, The Doctor’s WifeWoman with Dark Glasses, Man through Black Eyepatch. It gives the totality novel a feeling of a fable, and also makes lock nameless stand-ins for every one of humanity. Plus, those room pretty cool personality names.

Fairytales regularly use this strategy, too. Brothers Grimm fairytales attribute the Baker’s Daughter, the Tailor’s Apprentice, the Miller’s Son.

And here are a couple of more examples of cool character names, native television and also elsewhere. An especially in the situation of the tobacco man, not offering him a name provides him an aura of an enig and secrecy.

The Doctor from Doctor WhoThe cigarette smoking man from X-filesThe Time Traveller from The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

If you’d prefer to read an ext about cool character names, examine out a list from The Guardian that the Worst personality Names of every time, and also The Weeklings has a list of the 50 finest Character name of all time.

Also, The Paris Review has a good article on how to name your characters.

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Lastly, if you’re still stuck on how to come up through your cool character names, get this fantastic resource. The Character naming Sourcebook is a publication with much more than 25,000 names, including their histories and also meanings, written v the writer in mind.