Selecting Names for Characters in Your Story

As simple as choosing a character’s name for a story may seem, it is quite a challenging task and may require a considerable amount of time. Most authors aim to make the name of characters in their stories a memorable and engaging one. It is important for your character to have a meaningful, charismatic, and true-to-the-book name so your audience can fall in love with the character. Interesting names are what help your audience stay glued to the story and bring your story to life.
There are various tips and tricks in this article that will help you in naming fictional characters in your book, simultaneously making them unique and easy to remember.

Naming Characters come from Background and Setting

You have probably noticed if you’re a frequent reader, that names in a book vary according to the time the story of the book revolves around and the story’s setting. Naming the characters in the story also critically depends on their backstory, their country of origin, their religion, and specifically, their gender. As you read the infamous classics “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee or “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, based in the 1960s and early 1800s.

You inevitably notice that characters such as Scout Finch, and Mr. Darcy have very poignant and era-related names, which is why readers feel the story and appreciate the meticulous work. Hence, it is essential to name your characters according to the time the story is being told and keep their background in mind.
Your book’s plot and the intended audience for the novel are also key factors in deciding the character’s name. For example, a novel that is intended for children would have characters’ names that are common and easy to remember for example the character “Peter Pan” is easy to handle for kidswhereas those that are intended for more mature audiences their characters would provide more depth and context to the specific personality.

Role of Characters

Understanding your character’s personality and their role in the book plays a crucial role in deciding their name. Whether the character is a protagonist, anti-villain, or antagonist, their name should complement the character development that takes place in the story. Most importantly, the name of your main character should be well-crafted and relevant to your story, allowing your book to stand out.

For example, let’s examine famous novels such as “The Hundred and One Dalmatians” and its Disney adaptations. The main antagonist in the book is a character named Cruella de Vil. Cruella is a cruel and ruthless woman with the intention of harming animals. Her name is a combination of “cruel” and “devil,” emphasizing her role in the book.

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Inspiration for Character Names in your Book

Keep it Simple! Don’t make the naming process too complicated or too rushed. Take your time. In fact, feel free to add nicknames. There are various sources you can use to generate a name for your characters.

Wikipedia – for naming characters in a story

This is a good way to get your hands on names that are used in a particular country and ethnicity. Wiki can provide you with a good list that helps you choose the name you deem fit.

Ai Tools

Ai tools are also a great way to get a list of random names to choose from. However, this is not one of the most reliable methods of naming your character.


You are also free to use your imagination and create whatever name you like for your character. But then again, there are a few tips and key factors you need to keep in mind while letting your imagination run wild.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with puns or allusions when coming up with names for your book’s characters.

Online character Name generators

There are a few of these that you can employ to name your characters in your story if you can’t come up with a name or need a handful of good suggestion. These sites take ample information that is essential in generating the perfect name for your character to come to life and make your audience fall in love with the story.

Here are a few:

If you want to search names particularly according to country/language, tap this link Below!
If you have chosen a letter, and you’d like a few names according to that but also keeping in mind the origin of the character, use this:
Or if you’d like to name your characters straight-up facts such as background, age, gender and personality traits, etc. Head here!

Tips to Keep in Mind While Naming Your Character

  • Authentic:
    For an ordinary story, the name should be eye-catching. However, with a complex plot and details to remember, you can also give a fairly easy name. For example, a simple name like Harry from J.K. Rowling’s famous series “Harry Potter” can engage readers as he embarks on a series of magical adventures after discovering he is a wizard.
  • Stereotypical names:
    Beware of names that shrink the globalization and relatability of your story by enunciating bias or ethnic barriers. Use names that are diverse and enhance the overall representation of your fictional character.
  • Effectiveness of pronunciation and readability:
    As tempted as you would be to use a name that your readers have never heard of, do keep in mind that difficult-to-pronounce names can hinder the readability of your book and instantly break the reader’s interest. Keep your name unique, but also easy to pronounce and readable. Ensure there is a cohesive feel between the name and your book.
  • Symbolism:
    Naming your fictional character in an effective way could also include names that portray the nature of the character and provide insight and hints to your readers. A symbolic name in a movie or book carries a deeper meaning and represents certain qualities, themes, or concepts within the story. Here are a few examples of characters with symbolic names, like Ophelia from Hamlet. Her name is derived from the Greek word “Ophelos,” meaning “help” or “benefit.” It symbolizes her role as a victim of circumstance and her tragic fate.
  • Assonance and Alliteration:
    Readers are more likely to grasp and easily remember a character’s name if it has a sonorous rhythm to it. Experiment with the first and last names to create a pleasing rhythm. Such names have a positive impact on readers and are likely to be remembered for a long time. For example, Victor Vale from V.E. Schwab’s “Vicious” has a memorable alliterative name. Similarly, Arya Stark from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series has a name with assonance. You can also try saying the name out loud to ensure it has the right feel you’re going for.
  • Nickname and Short forms: Considering nicknames and short forms is also a great measure when attempting to bring a remarkable character to life in your book. However, using too many nicknames can defeat the purpose and confuse your audience. So, keep only one consistent nickname to familiarize your audience with the main character of the book.
By following these tips, you can choose character names that resonate with your story, engage your audience, and add depth to your book.

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