How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?
I really don’t have a particular process when it comes to naming characters, locations, and worlds. Most of it really just depends on the mood and feel of the story I’m writing, and whatever seems to fit with the world and sounds good.
Since a child, I’ve always believed that anything can be a name, especially when you’re dealing with fabricated cultures and worlds. But even with that said, whatever name is thought up should fit snugly into the world it was created for.
In my Fantasy WIP, AMACHI: Warrior, the main character’s name is Amachi, which is a real African name here on earth. The names of her two guardians, Cirviigo and Montasel, are totally fabricated though. Two major cities in the story are called Herthynmore and Spirebedd. The world in which the story takes place is called Dezmane. For me, all of those names just fit the story and I like the way they sound.
Sometimes, names change as I write and a different name seems to fit better.
In my screenplay, “Things People Do”, the main characters are Christine Archer, Robrrt Green, Shanna Morgan, and Allen Ford. When I first started writing the script, Robert was Michael, Shanna was Alicia, and Allen was Peter. By the end of the script, Robert, Shanna, and Allen just seemed to fit better than Michael, Alicia, and Peter.
Christine Archer, is the only character whose name didn’t change. Why? I don’t know. The name Christine just fit the emotional state of the character in my eyes. Maybe it has something to do with Stephen King’s car of the same name…I don’t know.
I have a Sci-Fi story in development called “Gallecsiaiz”, about a group of military operatives with code names like Precise Caliber, Forge Scenario, Tactical Blitz, Maneuver Guile, Edifice Raze, Epoch Superior, and Grill Candor, just to name a few. Weird names I know, but each one is specifically tailored to speak to or imply the characters role in combat and specialty. For instance, Precise Caliber is a sniper. It works for me.
I know a lot of other writers have a specific process for creating names and such, I just go with what I feel, what sounds good to me.