Coming Up With Memorable Names

Coming up with names for your characters is so important. You want these namesakes to stand out and embody the very essence of your characters. Of course, there are some genres that tend to use common everyday names, but a lot of writers seize the opportunity to use more flamboyant names like Phillius McFlinn – because why not? You want your characters to be memorable!

At the moment, I’m writing a fantasy novel, so I’ve been running wild with names for the places, characters and creatures that inhabit my world. Coming up with names can be a challenge, especially when you think about it too hard. The best names usually come to me quite instinctively through some sort of divine eureka moment.

If you’re having trouble naming your creations, then don’t worry. The beauty of naming things is that names are interchangeable and altering the names of your characters can be literally the last thing you do when redrafting. So if you’re struggling to find a name for Sergeant Grim-face, then just call him Sergeant Grim-face while writing – or Bob – until you find a name that fits.

There are thousands of name generators out there, whether it be for fantasy, sci-fi or any other genre. There are also baby name websites that have an untold amount of name options for you to peruse, which is probably why kids nowadays are called names like Neveah and Atticus. Let’s not even mention Khaleesi..

What I also do is keep a list of any interesting names I come across, as well as those that I ‘invent’, because one of them might end up being the perfect name for Sergeant Grim-face! Having a stockpile of awesome names on standby can save you a lot of pondering when it comes to naming things.

So have fun with naming your babies! You don’t have to worry about your literary children getting bullied for their outlandish name (unless that’s part of the plot) – name them whatever you bloody well like! Seize your creative liberty and revel in playing God!

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The Importance of Research

As a writer, I think that research is immensely important.

You need to know the world you are writing about, otherwise you will run the risk of inaccuracies and flaws, which may annoy your readers. So don’t take anything for granted… if you’re unsure on something you’re writing about (i.e. the rankings of the British Army), then make sure that you look into it and get it right!

My first book was set in the fifties (forty years before I was born), so I did a lot of research for it! I wanted to paint an accurate picture of the time period, so I read books and looked online about it, making sure that every little detail was accurate. What did people eat? What did they do in their spare time? What sort of clothes did they wear? All of these questions were relevant and allowed me to progress with the story.

My second book, on the other hand, required very little research because it was heavily based on personal experiences. For these sorts of projects, the ones that you’ve lived through or experienced through the eyes of others, you don’t have to worry as much about research because you already know everything that you want to convey. However, it’s still good to check that you’ve got things right.

As for my latest project, set in a fantasy world, I thought that a lot of research would be required. However, I soon came to the realisation that my world has its own rules, so I’m not bound to issues of accuracy! Of course, research is helpful if you’re looking for ideas or elements to base your fantasy world on, but for the most part, you have free rein.

The most important tip from this post is to research what you’re unsure about. Don’t just blag something and think you’ll get away with it because there’ll be people out there who will know that you’ve got it wrong! So do your research and have fun with your writing!