Wednesday, September 28, 2011

character names

I went back to work on an older writing project recently. And, then, I went back to work on an even older project. (I like working on two projects at the same time. When I get stuck on one, I can change gears and work on the other.) Imagine my surprise when I realized both these older projects have a character with the same name. I also was surprised that one of them has the same name as one of the characters in the project I just turned in. Good grief! I'm totally in a character name rut!

A tool I like to use to pick names is the U.S. Social Security Administration's website: Popular Baby Names. I think using popular names helps readers identify with characters. The site is great, moreover, because you can input the year of birth and get the top names for that year. For example, in 1910, the top names were John and Mary. In 1960, the top names were David and Mary. And in 2010, the top names were Jacob and Isabella. Hhm... I'm starting to see why I have some character names repeated. :)

How do you pick your character names? How do you avoid repeating names?