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The Character Name List

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This is something that’s not for everyone, but for writers like me who aren’t huge on planning, it’s pretty helpful. I’ll get to a scene where a new character is being introduced and then I’ll stall while trying to come up with a name. For this reason, I started keeping a character name list. 

I’m the kind of writer who will write a scene where three new characters suddenly bust into a room and then I’ll have to spend ten minutes coming up with their names. To avoid having to work out names for ten minutes, I use a name list. I can change the name later. It’s not a big deal. But to keep writing, I need to pick a name quickly. 

I get that some people love to take a ton of time with the names of their characters and that’s just not my style. I wouldn’t say I don’t care about name meanings or anything like that, but I keep a list of names that I’m familiar with or that I like, names that I kind of know where I picked them from, what allusions exist and what the name implies. Some are just names I like, and I think names like that are fine too. Every once in awhile I will sit down for about an hour and jot down names. Personally, I like finding names through Nameberry. Their lists are fun to look through and can be good for finding things you hadn’t thought of.  

Just for fun, you can see an example of what mine looks like for a recent project. Often I write them down on paper and cross them out as the names get taken. 

I find this to be a helpful thing. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me so I figured I’d share. You can feel free to steal my list (I don’t mind. I didn’t make up any of the names and lay no claim to them).  

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