Parents and pet owners usually only have to face the dilemma a few times in a lifetime. But authors deal with it on a regular basis--sometimes even every few months. The dilemma? Coming up with names for fictional characters.
While you may spend much more time anguishing over what to name your new baby, you'll be faced with coming up with unique, original names on a regular basis as an author of fiction. As if it weren't hard enough, you then hear statements like this:
A name doesn't always just pop into your head when you think of a character. Your characters aren't pets. You can't just name them based on a physical trait.
In the old days, authors turned to the Yellow Pages or a baby naming book to find inspiration. I even used to keep a list in a notebook of unique names I heard. When it was time to name a character, I then went down the list, trying out names to see if anything fit.
Now there are websites that help you come up with first and last names. If you're looking for a popular first name, you just choose a name from the year the character was born. However, those lists aren't the best at hitting you with original names. For that, you could use a name generator...
But will that necessarily give you the best name? You could spend all day generating names and still not find one that fits.
How do you name your characters? Do you keep a list of cool names or do you use the internet?