Coming up with a name.

Coming up with a name.

A Lesson by TJ Graham

The simplest way to come with that amazing name.


Lets say that you've got yourself a military type novel going on. Your main character's name is Max. Yeah, C'mon buddy. Sergeant Major Max Dobi, or something in that realm. For, your own sake get rid of that!
A few simple ways:
What I did for my first "Novel" was I grabbed my High School yearbook.
1. Pick two people from your yearbook. A third, if you want a middle name.
2. Write your selections on paper.
3. Start shufflin'.

Or, you can chose multiple sources.

For example, for my science fiction novel, I have one Dr. Ian W. Bishop as a primary character.
Well, let's dig a little deeper.

1. The W. Bishop comes from "Walter Bishop" a character from J.J. Abrams' Fox TV show, Fringe.

But the "Ian"

2. The "Ian" came from Dr. Ian Wilmut, one of the Professors that helped create "Dolly" the cloned sheep.
Cloning is a plot point in the novel.

3. Try and find something that involves what you're writing about. Say, the founder of the town,

4. The names of your family members, your friends, shuffle those up a bit.

5. Videogames, TV, Movies, etc. Take your favorite characters, shuffle 'em around.
Example: In "Opposing Force" (A Military fiction novel in the works) the United States Secretary of Defense is named "John William Murray" The Middle and Last names are the name of one of my favorite videogame voice actors of all time, you gamers might be more familiar with him, he is Billy Murray. Better known as "Captain Price" from the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series.

However, I'm sure there are those of you that don't even have to pick up a book, or look up a Wikipedia article to find a great name, and that's wonderful!
But for those of you that want to keep your "Sergeant Major Max Dobi" (pronounced: Doo-Bee), That's fine too.
This is just for those that can't just get that perfect name.

So, in closing, I bid you good name hunting, and good writing. Farewell.

Tommy J.

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Posted 5 Years Ago

Coming up with the names of characters was always difficult for me in the past. However, this time I have a theme to follow. I am in Ireland, so my characters at the beginning have nice Irish names. Finnegans, O'Malleys, Gleasons, Schaunessy, and so forth. First names like Miles, Colin, Aiden, Alisson, see what I mean. If you are creating a story with people from all over, think of the character's personality. I chose my pen name from the Gaelic word that means 'dream.' So, I am Julian Aisling. (Julian is taken from Dr. Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.) Pull up baby name websites that give history of a name and what it really means. Sarah = Little Princess. Jason (my real name) = The Healer. Many people name their children after heroes. My dad is Robert Lee...after Robert E. Lee, general in the Civil War.

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Posted 8 Years Ago

"Pick two people from your yearbook." This is a Bad Idea. You don't want anyone who knows you (or knew you) to be able to accuse you of basing a character on them. That way lies lawsuits... Unless the name is so generic that it could be anyone (like John Smith), better to avoid naming any character after a classmate, coworker, or other real person.

"Dr. Ian W. Bishop" - I spotted THAT source for that before you pointed it out. Again, not a good idea to be so obvious.

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Added on April 10, 2010
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TJ Graham
TJ Graham

Castle Rock, CO

According to "I Write Like", I have the literary talents similar to Margaret Mitchell, author of 'Gone With The Wind'. That's too bad, I was hoping It'd say Stephanie Meyer, because I'd be able to thr..