I collect character names by paying attention to movie credits. Older movies place the credits up front for easy reading, but anytime you watch a movie, just grab as many names as you can and write them down in your moleskin.
prefer to take the first name from one person and mate it with the surname on the next, so I don't upset any Key Grips or Caterers. Screw actors, their names are made up anyway.
It's a good idea to start off with the etymology of the name. I see the visual of the character first in my mind's eye . Sometimes they are in action, sometimes they are sitting around, but once I see them, then I can guess at their name.
Trying asking the character what name they like, imagine them saying no, then listen to their voice. Can they say their own name correctly? Does it sound right when they say it? The Character ethnic background and local help me pick their name. Example, if he is an irish sailor, Finnegan Murphy. Murphy meaning : Seafarer, or Sea warrior, just off the top of my head.
I dig the rare vintage and/or names that can be shortened, and order to have a formal name like Jonathan,which can be annouced by a bulter, but also a short name, for friends, family or to screamed from a moving vehicle. "JON!" I also like family names, passed down from generation to generation.
Crossing ethnicity is great and can be useful in breaking down racial boundaries without preaching, but nicknames have stories of their own to add depth to the character and will draw sympathy out of the reader. Did you know "John Waynes" real name was Marion?
Write on, dude.
So long, it's been good to know you...
4 years ago