What’s In a Name?

I love names. First names. Middle names. Last Names. Personal Names. Nick Names. Family Names. The meanings and their history. I find it all fascinating. Over the last two decades or there abouts I have collected dozens of baby name books. In addition I collect links to websites with names and information about names. You might say I am a little obsessed with names.

Hello, my name is . . .

Allow me to let you in on a little secret. If you don’t already know it, names are important. It doesn’t matter if your name is Tom, Dick, Harry, or John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. What matters is that it’s your name.

And the same is true when you are writing a story. That shop keeper you wrote about on page 95, the one with one line and the name tag that is the only reason your character knows their name. They have a name. And it’s important.

You don’t have to know their name, although it certainly opens up additional possibilities if you do. Even if you do know their name, you don’t have to mention it in the story. It may not be important for the reader to know what their name is. What’s important is that you acknowledge that they have a name, a backstory, a family, people who love them and people who hate them. You have to know that there is more to them than just this one event that makes it onto the page. They are more than what your readers see just as every person you meet on a day to day basis has more to their story than the parts that intersect with yours.

With this in mind, I am creating a place that will hopefully aid you in finding the right name for your character. It will include links to websites on names as well as books on names that I think you may find useful. I will try to include a decent assortment of tools you can use in order to help you find exactly what you want. How do you find the names you use for your characters?


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