Naming a Character and Other Tough Decisions
by Helen Goltz
Okay, it’s not like you are naming your first-born, but it might as well be. That name you choose for your characters must reflect the character through thick and thin; they have to live up to it or down to it; it might have to be sexy or tough or mysterious.
When choosing a name for my masculine stars in The Clairvoyant’s Glasses, I chose the name Lukas for my male witch because it was sexy, interesting and old-world. It didn’t lend itself to nicknames. For the street-smart police officer I picked the name Murdoch. I worked with a Murdoch once and the name says ‘reliable, strong, solid’ to me. Everything my Murdoch is. I looked up popular Irish names to select Daniel for my cute and trouble-making Irish journalist.
For the girls in The Clairvoyant’s Glasses, I took into account the era and the genre. I found some great ‘witch’ sites with witch names and their meanings.
I selected Orli as the name for my ethereal, white-hair spiritual female. Orli means ‘my light’. Sophie and Lucy were popular names in the year that those characters were born—I estimated their age and looked online for the ten most popular female names that year.
So, where do you source your names from? Here’s some of my sources:
1) Popular names lists for the year in question
Depending on the genre and when your book is set, there are plenty of lists online that can help. For example when I was writing the 1940s historical romance Autumn Manor, I Googled most popular boy and girls names in the 1920s, because my characters were now about 20 years old.
2) The cemetery
Yes, I get that it sounds a bit morbid, but I’ve found lots of great names from cemetery headstones. Lovely names like Matilda but most importantly, plenty of surnames, because they can be harder to ‘create’ than first names.
3) The newspaper or online
Who hasn’t done it? Been searching quickly for a surname that you are probably only going to use once (e.g. like a witness giving a report in your story) and glanced at the local paper or stories online and grabbed a name.
Have you ever glanced down that work phone list, or been searching for a quick name and ‘borrowed’ a first or last name from the office? Mm, me either 🙂
5) Friends and family
Both handy sources for first and last names … just make sure you mix them up and you don’t insult anyone.
So share your inspiration. Where do you get your characters’ names from?
After studying English Literature and Communications at universities in Queensland, Australia, Helen Goltz has worked as a journalist and marketer in print, TV, radio and public relations. Helen is the author of seven books and is published by Clan Destine Press and Atlas Productions.
by Helen Goltz
Published by: Atlas Productions
Publication date: September 28th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance
When Sophie Carell was eight years old, her eccentric, clairvoyant great aunt Daphne predicted Sophie would be one of the greatest clairvoyants of her time. Sophie wanted to be a movie star. Her mother said not to worry about it—Aunt Daphne was daffy.
When Sophie is called to the reading of Daphne’s Will, she is given a pair of glasses that will change her life. But that’s not all she acquires. Along with the glasses, Sophie ‘inherits’ a protector—the handsome and powerful Lukas Lens; plus brooding Detective Murdoch Ashcroft, who is keen for Sophie to fill her aunt’s shoes and put her talents to work for him.
Sophie has to decide if she will focus on her acting career or explore her newfound clairvoyant skills. But danger lurks around the corner…