SIX Tips for Choosing Names for Your Characters

 by Gloria G. Adams

Take time to find great names for your characters! Check out these tips and name-searching ideas.

1.     Does the name match your character? Velvet or Fawn bring to mind a soft, gentle character, while Butch or Tank sound rough and strong. 
      Or try the opposite: Name your antagonist, a female gang leader who
      is a nasty bully, something like Angel Sweet. You can also look for meanings assigned to names; Vera means “true,” Amy means “beloved,” etc. But for a broader, more interesting take, try looking up names in the Urban Dictionary. For example, Amy is a beautiful girl willing to do anything for her friends and family. She is brave, loyal and super smart. She's the type of girl who will grow up to be some  sort of heroine.”

2.      Make sure character names match the time frame. One way is to use baby name charts for your era. So, if your MC is 16 and your book takes place in 2020, look for baby names from 2004. For historical names, try looking on or searching history books. One good source is Teresa Norman’s book, Names Through the Ages.

3.      If your characters come from a different country, research names from that country. Make sure they are accurate and authentic.

4.      Read the credits at the end of movies or TV shows. I used to get frustrated with my husband when he wanted to stay in the movie theater til the very end of all the credits. He had no reason to give me; maybe he just wanted to savor the last few minutes of being at the movies. But when I started writing, I found a reason to want to stay, too. A lot of great name ideas can spring from those long lists of people who work as film editors, best boys, make-up artists, etc.

5.      Don’t use names that are too similar to each other or have the same number of syllables. You want your characters to be distinct; give their names the same attention.

6.      Pick a geographic spot with an unusual name and have your character tell everyone he/she was born there. Set your story in that country or town. Remember Picabo Street? She was named after a town called “Picabo.” Jump onto Google Maps and find a treasure trove of cities, states, and countries that would make not only great character names, but also great settings for your stories.

Or let someone else work for you! Check out Reedsy’s Name Generator:

A Gift for Writers from Evelyn Christensen

Check out Evelyn's list of publishers and magazine markets!

by Kate Carroll

While many of us are learning how to be creative while sheltering in place, we set our sights on sources, mentors and other successful authors. It’s often said that members of the kid lit community rank high in supporting fellow writers, sharing information and cheering one another on.  One such person is Dr. Evelyn Christensen. Evelyn is an accomplished writer in the educational and trade markets with an impressive number of published works.

Before she was an author, Evelyn was a teacher, and that love of sharing knowledge stayed with her. With generosity, Evelyn has invited our readers to visit her website, not only to see her works on display, but also to receive a special gift.  Spanning years of work, Evelyn has compiled a list of educational publishers, indicating their specialties, and a list of magazine markets for our viewing.  We all know how time consuming it is to collect this information!  

Please go to to enjoy this free gift from Dr. Christensen. Be sure to send her a thank you email for her gracious gift!