Naming a Character

Hello all,

I am a first-time writer. I’m writing science fiction, and I’m trying to name my protagonist. She is a 14 yo girl, and I’m trying to come up with a name that is both vulnerable and strong.

Any name ideas, or name resource ideas?



Hi there. Please whatever you choose don’t use the name Zoe. Honestly seems every TV script in the past decade has that name somewhere in the call sheet.

I’ve always been partial to Abigail. On the plus side, it also give you short form nickname options:

She leveled her pulse gun at the Karellian.

“My mom and my friends call me ABBY admiral. You’re neither” she hissed.

Etc. Etc. Etc :slight_smile:


P.S. give GWC a shout out when you collect your Hugo :slight_smile:

What about Claudia?

Maybe the Mary Sue Litmus Test will help:

Google websites which provide names for various ethnicities. Such as Navajo, Japanese, Irish, Scandinavian etc. Based upon your characters racial background, and use a name which reflects your characters strengths. Many names have ancient meanings and if this is reflected in your character it is a nice touch, it can even be worked into their back story.

Mythology is also a good resource. And there is a site which is a ‘name generator’, if you get really stuck… I forget the name of it, but many writers have gone there. If I remember correctly it generates Icelandic names… I am sure you can use your GoogleFu to find it.

Serendipity allows for this article over on io9.

Character names that should be banned forever.


Good pull OB, liked the article…

One valuable tip: always, always, always say your characters’ names out loud to test how they sound, whether or not they’re real-world or made up. You may accidentally end up with word or sound combinations that you didn’t intend–the example for me is an author at a convention I attended wrote several thousand words before she realized that her main character’s name sounded like “phallus.”

Along the same lines, I have often deliberately written names that seem innocent and or interesting until you sound them out in your head. And then you wind up catching the joke… This can be done phonetically.

I like to hide little gems like that in a story where you do not expect it, I often use humor to lighten an otherwise dark story.

I’ve never seemed to have a problem for names, until I need one. Then I start drawing a blank. So I’ve started keeping a list of names I like in a little pad next one of the many notebooks I attempt to write in. Problem is, I’m never next to that notebook when I need it.

Lately, I’ve been looking at a lot of names that have hyphens or apostrophes in them. Like: Ly’ra, or Ji-ranaa.

One that I love to use is Abernathy, but that’s usually a last name.

Fine, I will let you use Zaggan. You just had to ask! :smiley:

I’ve yet to see a sci-fi character named, “Bubba”.

I think old Anglo-Saxon, Scannic, & Welsh names are pretty bad-ass, like Aethel-red, Wulfric, Blue-tooth, Esca

And whatever you do don’t unnecessarily change "i"s to "y"s or double up letters that are normally solitary. Or Catelyn and Robb will get mad.

I personally just name my characters normal names. For some reason I identify more with a Chuck Williams than I do an Abadon Ashbourne Starkiller IV

I like it when names have some connection to what happens with that character in the story, but not “beat you on top of the head with it” connections. Don’t know if that helps at all.
To your original question, I’ve always liked the name Lisa. If that doesn’t help, go through the phone book :).