Names, Names, Names

Hi, Guys!  

It’s Vika, and I was hoping for your advice.  Have any of you ever had trouble naming your characters?  I recently wrote a story for school that was set in Ancient Mesopotamia.  This was where I encountered an odd problem: I needed to think of modern day Mesopotamian sounding names.  This would have been fine, but I ended up with characters like Gru, Gnot, Nan, Numa, Nora, and Nina.  Those are weird and repetative, but sadly, also the best I could do.

As a reader, I noticed that my first imporession of characters involves connecting their names to people or characters I know with the same name. For example, the name “Veruca,” which is beautiful by the way, always makes me think of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:

Veruca Salt, the little brute

Has just gone down

The garbage chute

Therefore, whenever I see a character named Veruca, I expect her to be a brat.  (No offense to Verucas out there- I generally get over these “perceptions” pretty quickly.)

Interesting, right?  Does that happen to any of you?

So, anyway, back to my naming situation. 

Sometimes, if I am REALY REALLY REALLY SUPER stuck and can’t name my characters, I check out baby name websites, like  This could help, in theory, after surfing out random names for a while.

Another think I tried to do was keep a notebook and write down cool names.  Assuming I haven’t lost my notebook already, let me go get it and tell you what I have managed to scribble down.

Ah, here it is!

First Names:
  • Geoffrey
  • Zelda
  • Ezra
  • Bartholomew
  • Elijah
  • Jerome
  • Gary
  • Harvey
  • Lanie
  • Micheal 
  • Lulu

That is all I have, but I bet you guys could think of a few more.  The things is, the first names are the easy part.  It’s the last names that really get me.  I’ve tried looking through a phone book or a school directory.  I’ve tried mashing together random syllables.  I’ve even tried using words from another language!  Still,  I am really bad at making up last names.  Generally, this is why I ditch the last name finding game pretty quickly in hopes that something random and brilliant will come to me.  Still waiting on that part. 

So, I am writing to you and asking for help.   What do you guys do with names?  How do you go about naming your characters.  Do you even name them, or do you call them “X” and “Y” until you think of something else?  (And yes, I have definitely done that before.  Naming is important and can’t be rushed, so a variable makes a perfect placeholder, at least in my opinion.)

Please write back in the comments!

Thanks, you guys!  (And I mean girls too!)


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