Naming things - children, pets, characters ... I think there must be a special, bespoke little pleasure centre in the human brain just for that. I love naming things. When I was thinking about writing this post with some sort of title like Tips for Naming Characters, the word "naming" morphed into the word "namely" - and a character was born. He is called Namely Tips. He is a young Victorian artist-in-training. He has pale wavy hair and a soft pale moustache and pale blue eyes and he is nervous around women. I can see him clearly. And there is no other moniker on earth that would absolutely suit him so well.
Children ask me at events about where I get the names for my characters. Telling them that they come out of thin air has never seemed to work as an answer. I do explain that for the characters in my medieval books I looked at lists of names from the period for inspiration. In the book I'm writing currently, I have a Bhutanese dictionary which I'm naming my characters out of. But when I'm engaged in research of this sort, what I'm really doing is skimming, and waiting for the right name to leap out.
So for me it would seem that the key is not being good at making up names. For me the key is knowing the right name when I find it. Recognizing that little buzz of pleasure when the naming button is pushed inside my brain, and then running with it.
There are likely as many different ways of finding our characters' (or pets' or children's) names as there are writers (or namers of any sort). Everybody's buttons will be a little different.
So, how is it for you? What are your naming tips? How do you do it? It'll be fun to hear ... Funter Here ... Herr Gottfried Funter, impossibly tall, painfully thin, piano teacher to Lady Arnica Coldpack and desperately, hopelessly in love ...
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(Oh, and visit the website of the character named Slightly Jones ...)