Thursday, February 15, 2024

Character Names

Someone posted in a writers' group on Facebook "How do you select the names of your characters?" 

That's a tough one. Coming up with character names is one of the most annoying parts of writing for me. My seven book series Chumba of the Intelligence Corps/Treasures of Space/Death to the Emperor the main character's moniker is "Titus Chumba."  I have no idea where I came up with that. But in Treasures of Space and Death to the Emperor, he uses a lot of pseudonyms since he's hiding from the Core Empire. The main one is "Rick Bailey." How did I come up with all those names? I have no idea nor memory of doing it. When it comes to main characters, I tend to make up a name I like.

But then there are the secondary characters. For those, I will often use a random name generator. I like the Behind the Name one because of all the options. Or sometimes I just want a quick one, so I'll use this one.

In Rock Killer, the main character's name was Alexander Chun. I decided I wanted a Korean-American name (I'd just graduated from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, where I studied Korean when I started writing it). But other names, I just made up (I wrote most of this book before I discovered the internet in 1994).

How do you come up with character names? Let me know in the comments below.


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