Are you stuck on deciding what to name your characters for your next book? Try using a CHARACTER NAME GENERATOR!
Sometimes, it can be difficult choosing the right name for your characters. And if chosen improperly, you could really change the whole nature of your book. Imagine if Romeo and Juliet were actually named Cletus and Ethel. Shakespeare now sounds like a country Rom-Com.
And if you really want to know how complicated character names can get, take a walk in a fantasy writer's shoes. (Or should I say sabatons?) A quick look at the names in The Stormlight Archive can really drive this point home.
In this article, you will learn:
- Our choices for the best character name generator sites
- Why choosing the right character name is important
- Tips and tricks to choosing the perfect name for your characters
And with that, let's begin!
Best Character Name Generators
- Character Name Generator at Name-Generator.Org
- Name Generator Fun
- Random Name Generator
- Writer's Character Name Generator
Our Picks for The Best Character Name Generator Sites
There are a bunch of name generators out there to choose from. However, we selected these based on certain criteria including database size and available filters. It wouldn't be too helpful if you're searching for Fantasy appropriate names and all you're getting are names suitable for Thriller/Mystery novels.
If you're looking for a fun generator layout that comes with extensive results, I'd recommend Reedsy's name generator. They boast over 1 MILLION available name combinations and several different filter options including:
- Languages/Countries from around the world
- Medieval Options from Various Regions
- God Names from Different Religions
- Archetype (Heroes, Villains, Mentors, and Sidekicks)
- Fantasy Based (Elves, Dragons, and Human Variations)
They've also got a fun and easy to use User Interface, so you won't be forgetting them anytime soon.
This generator may only have a portion of Reedsy's database (220,000 available), but they provide a much more in-depth filter selection. Here you can choose personality traits, birth dates, and even parental nationalities!
And after going through all the filters (including those not seen in the picture above), the generator popped out some pretty cool names.
The name of this generator definitely describes how it operates. This generator provides a bunch of different categories to choose from. This includes Superhero names to Rap Names to everything in between. If you're looking for something a little more unique, this might be the place.
Let's see what my rapper name would be, shall we?
MC Schoolboy Hustle… I can get behind that.
This generator is another awesome one. It scrubs names from the US Census database. This equates to over 480 MILLION different combinations of first and last names.
Let's generate some names using the rare setting and sees what pops up.
Billy Bustamante sounds like a great name for a performing arts actor! That could be useful in a novel.
This generator gives two male and two female names. There's no filters to choose from though. Just click the button, and you're supplied with your names. From what I can see, the names aren't too out there (which can definitely be a good thing), but they're not so vanilla either.
Here's what the generator had to say:
Why is Choosing the Right Character Name Important?
Choosing good names for your characters is more important than you might think. You want to choose names that stand out in the reader's mind and are not easily forgotten. Names like Aragorn, Luke Skywalker, and Katniss Everdeen have earned a special place in our hearts.What's in a name? That which we assign a Main Character by any other name would be... irrelevant? Make sure you choose the right names for your story's leads.Click To Tweet
Choosing the right names actually helps to smooth out your stories too. In most cases, each name should clearly represent only one character and keep them distinguished from the others. You may like the name Jim for one character, but be wary what you name the others. A book with Jim, John, James, Jules, and Jerry can easily make for a very confusing read.
Names can also help you to establish a character's personality from the minute you introduce them. A name such as Archibald may imply a sense of refinement and class. But introduce the same character as Archie, and you have a more cool, laid back name — perhaps that of an All-American high school quarterback.
Your character's name can also become synonymous with the book itself. When most people think of Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs, the first thing that often comes to mind is Hannibal Lecter. As a matter of fact, the name Hannibal Lecter is more commonly known than the name of the book!
How to Choose the Best Book Character Names
Selecting the right character name shares many of the same principles as choosing a pen name. You want the name to fit your style, genre, even appropriate age range. Here are some tips and tricks you can use in order to make sure you get it right.
Consider your character against the time setting.
You need to consider what time period you are writing your story for. If your story is based in the 1800's, a modern name such as Zayden will just be out of place. However, a name like Samuel would fit right in. It may not seem as adventurous, but remember to write for your times.
Take note of your character's age.
Keep in mind that different names are common in different generations. Your characters are all alive at the same time, but it might be weird to have an old character named Talon or a young character named Leonard. Then again, maybe that's what you're going for — a protagonist who feels decades older than his peers. In that case, break the rules!
Where does your story take place?
This can be a huge factor. Take the name Mary for example. The name Mary fits in the American Midwest, but using a variation such as Maria could be better for a story based in Argentina.
Keep your genre in mind.
This is the area most character names either sink or swim. In John Sandford's crime thriller, Neon Prey, Lucas Davenport (US Marshal) is hot on the trail of Louisiana-originated killer Clayton Deese. The names fit Sandford's genre extremely well. Do some research to learn what kinds of names have succeeded in your genre in the past.
Pay attention to the pronunciation of the name.
Is the name you've chosen hard to speak out loud? If so, it's probably hard to read as well. You want your readers to have a full immersion into your story. And that's difficult to achieve if they have to sound out your character's name every time they read it. If there's a reason you want your character to have a complicated name, consider also giving them a nickname.
Nicknames are your friend.
Let's go back to the Archibald/Archie example. Maybe your character was born into high society with a stiff upper lip. A name like Archibald can definitely fit this persona. But if Archibald turns out to be a fun-loving, spunky youngster, Archie could be just perfect.
So, what's in a name?
Deciding on the right character names doesn't have to be a tough process. Just remember the big goal — to support your story, not distract from it.
When you get stuck, you can always head over to one of these awesome character name generator sites and get a bevy of good options.