Oct 27, 2012

Character Names

by Cindy R. Williams

Where do you find the names of your characters?

Do you find them in a baby name book, movie screen credits, family members and friends names, your children's sports, choir and band performance names listed on the programs. Maybe you research names for their meaning.

My junior high school son came home yesterday, excited about a website they had viewed in English. It listed many of the names J.K Rowling used in her Harry Potter series, and what each of the names meant.

Here are some examples:

Draco means dragon.

Voldemort means flying death or flying thief.

Harry means home ruler, but it's also a favorite name of Rowling.

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is one of her more ingenious names.
Albus means white wisdom. Percival is a knight who saw the Holy Grail. Wulfric is wolf power. Brian means high, noble, strong. Dumbledore means bumblebee.
Sirius means scorching, burning. Sirius is also a bright star in a constellation and one of Orian's hunting dogs. You may remember that he was able to turn into a large dog called Padfoot. Rowley realy did her research.

Lupin means wolf or wolf like and is a French name for werewolf.

Luna refers to the moon.

Both names of Rita Skeeter refer to mosquitoes.

Where do you find your characters names?

(Update to eating healthy post: 21 pounds lost)


  1. I do kind of a mix of several different ways. Whenever I hear or see a name I like I write it down, and I go back and look at it later on when searching for names for characters. I also like looking on baby name websites, and researching name meanings and choosing names based on that. Just depends on the book.

    I did not know what those names meant, that is cool the way she named her characters!


  2. I like to go through name generators but I also pay attention to the way they sound and if they reflect the feeling I want the reader to have when they read it. My strong male hero character name is James. Love that name. But sometimes I find a name that reminds me of someone in my past and I can't get past how much I hate that name. I also hate name combinations that are hard to pronounce in my head...like Renesmee. Worst. Name. Ever.

  3. Also I am confused that your blog post is dated four days into the future...yet there it stands on the 23rd. How is that happening?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Okay . . . 3rd time's the charm. Each reply I just deleted had a typo. Here we go again.

      In answer to Kami's question: There must have been a computer glitch. I write my posts early and come back to it days later with fresh eyes to catch typos. I always use the "schedule" button so that I can complete my blog early. I went back to it Friday (26th) to review it, and it was still scheduled for posting today, October 27th. Yet . . . there were already THREE comments attached to it. WEIRD! I think there is something fishy going on in cyberspace.

  5. Thanks Kami and Claire for you input on how you find names for your characters. Good ideas!

  6. I had fun reading your post, Cindy! I haven't written much fiction, so I don't have a system for finding names yet. I hadn't thought about paying attention to the actual meanings of the names. I think that makes complete sense. Thanks!


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