Three Places to Find Inspiration for Character Names

by Maya Ambrose, Age 15, United States

Artwork by Katie King


Three Places to Find Inspiration for Character Names - jaBlog!We all know how hard it can be to choose the perfect name for your character. To us, our character is complex, unique, and near perfect, and they need a name that represents them. They need a name that will make them recognizable and place them alongside Huckleberry, Gatsby, and Guinevere. But it’s so hard to find the right name, a name that will take you both very far. Here are three places to find inspiration for character names.

My favourite resource for names is Nameberry is a website devoted to names and their meanings, complete with daily articles on naming trends. I especially enjoy the Writers Corner, a forum dedicated to the naming process for writers, because it is always helpful to receive opinions and feedback from fellow writers and potential readers. I like to choose one word that defines my character, from beautiful to brave, and search it on Nameberry. There are always hundreds of names, educating forum posts, and insightful articles to help me find the ideal name for my character.

Another way to draw name inspiration is from the world around you. It’s all in how it relates to your story and, most importantly, to your character. Is the character resilient and strong like the Brooklyn Bridge, or are they protective and valiant like a male deer? Pay close attention to wherever you see glimmers of your character and yourself as a writer because that is where the perfect name lies.

A fun and easy approach to choosing your character’s name is by paying homage to and drawing inspiration from other famous writers and literary characters, as long as you’re careful not to be too obvious. If you were looking for a way to evoke a sense of boyish adventure, what could be a better name than Sawyer? Likewise, if your character is a coquettish young girl, an ideal naming choice would be Lita.

Your character’s name is a crucial part of your story; it instantly adds depth and creates a connection between the character and the reader, the two most important people of your story. By choosing a unique name, you are creating a character that will stand out from others, a character that will be recognized and potentially immortalized by enthralled readers. Isn’t that what every writer wants?

Keep in mind that it is first and foremost your story and your character. You are the pilot of your story, you are in charge, and you call the shots. A story will never read honestly if it hasn’t been written from your heart.


Maya Ambrose is a 15 year old writer from the United States. She strives to take risks and set herself apart from other young writers with the help of her distinctive and recognizable literary style and voice.


8 comments on “Three Places to Find Inspiration for Character Names

  1. Rida

    Great tips!

  2. Sana

    I’ve always loved the naming process because it felt as if I was truly bringing my character to life. Usually I used so I could examine names common in different areas of the world to be more diverse and also so I could look at the meanings to find something that defined my character. Nameberry sounds really interesting and I would love to give it a try. Thanks for the tip!

    • Maya

      BehindTheName is great, right? Names are so much fun!

    • Audrey Corno

      I tried and it’s really good! Thanks for the website!

  3. Another great way is to just write the story using a placement name that’s going to be changed later. Sure, it makes a lot of work when you have to go and amend all the ‘wrong’ names, but as the character grows on you, you’ll learn their name. It’s what I’ve done in the script I’m currently writing; when the name didn’t suit my character, but another did, I just changed them and it worked brilliantly. Strange, eh?

    • Maya

      You’re right Hannah! Nice idea!

  4. Maya

    You’re welcome! Thank you for reading, it really inspires me to keep writing, and naming!

  5. Raiha

    This is very helpful. Thanks for sharing it

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