Posted in Character Development, On Writing

Name Meanings

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:

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/

http://www.babycenter.com/babyNameYears.htm

http://www.behindthename.com/top/

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Author:

The AP Roberts is an extremely rare creature and there is only one known AP Roberts in the world. Usually off in its own little world, the AP returns to reality when it gets lonely. This elusive creature is rather difficult to catch on film, however will pose for drawings. The AP, though wild by nature, can be tamed and makes a wonderful pet. It should also be known that while the AP gets along with most creatures it has an intense fear of insects and large canines. The AP lives on a diet of mainly vegetables and candy but is not known to refuse food that is made and offered through kindness. The drink of choice for the AP is tea though it is known to drink water and juice. There is still much to be learned of the AP however, most agree that the writings of the AP are truly something to behold. Hopefully, one day the AP will find a good Agent creature who will introduce the AP's writings to a good publisher creature and the world will be able to read the AP's works.

3 thoughts on “Name Meanings

  1. Cool tools! I usually pick something for my characters, just something that I think sounds good. Sometimes I go and change it, but usually my name choice is pretty haphazard. Sometimes I pick names just for the nicknames. In one story I wrote, I wanted the nickname to be completely unlike the name, so I gave them the name Elizabeth, because of the Austrian Empress whose nickname was Sisi.

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  2. For me, not only literal meanings are important, but the sound and rhythm. I don’t like it if too many names in a story sound alike, or if a name doesn’t fit with the culture it’s supposed to come from. And of course, great heroes and heroines need names with a great heroic ring to them!

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