All of my characters start off their life with either the name George or Georgina.
To me, the name George is a filler name because it is the most common name that I know. Some characters end up staying as George but most develop another name at some point in the story. This other name is usually the one that stays with them for several drafts because it has a specific meaning to the character.
While there are many different ways to add meaning to your character’s name, there are three which I find myself using for the majority of my character names.
The first way of adding meaning is to find out what your character’s role or goal in the story. Once you know this you can narrow down what you want your character’s name to mean. For instance, if your character is set to be a mighty warrior then you can begin searching name dictionaries for “warrior” and choose from the list generated.
The second way to add meaning to your character’s name is to find out which names were popular in your story’s time and location. This can be done by searching through census data or through history books.
The third way to add meaning is to create it. If your story is set in Victorian London and you want to name your character Rain, then have a story behind it. Perhaps the mother was a firm believer in the supernatural and had been told by a gypsy fortune-teller that she should name her daughter Rain.
By having a meaning behind your character’s name, you can gain more insight into your character and their background. Whether or not you share the story, by knowing the meaning you can use it to more fully develop your character.
Does the name mean something to the story? Does it show the time period or setting? Did his parents name him Alfonso because they thought the name was nice or because that was the name of his great-uncle?
Check out these links to search for names by years: