The Name Game

I’m in the research and rough draft stage of a new novel. This phase led to planning a genealogy for the male character in the novel. Names are important. They are especially important when writing a time specific book. Would you name a futuristic alien Joe? A Biblical setting would evoke certain names. Contemporary names are easy, or are they?

It’s easy to pull a name out of the air and slap it on your page. However, naming a character should come with some thought. It’s important to make the name consistent with the age, nationality, or status of the character.

Does the name fit or even define the character? For example, Han Solo is a perfect name for a solitary pilot on the run.

The hero in my next book comes from a Scottish background. His ancestors settled in the mountains of North Carolina around 1940. As he discovers details about his family, he will find names appropriate to their birth location and the years of their birth. is one of the sites I used since it allowed me to search specify Scottish in my search criteria. gave me a selection of common Scottish last names. allowed me to search by decade for his first name. gives the meaning and origin of names.

I’m sure you can find many sites to help you choose the best name for your male and female characters.

I chose the name Lucas MacMillan for the male lead in my work in progress. It’s a good name for a 1980s era, USA born male, with Scottish ancestors. Ah, but it didn’t work so well when I started writing. You see, the female lead is the daughter of Sheriff Marcus Bruster—a good last name for the no nonsense sheriff—from Grow Old With Me. Marcus and Lucas are too close in sound and could confuse the reader. So, I’m heading back to select another name for the new man on the scene.

Join me and plan appropriate names for your characters.


  • Browse the names in some favorite books or movies.
  • Do they tell you something about the nature of the character?
  • Is it a name for a villain or a hero?
  • Look at names popular in different decades.
  • Think about the criteria you might use to select names for your characters.
About Melinda Evaul

Melinda Evaul is a North Carolina native transplanted to Tennessee. Her contemporary Christian romances give readers a unique view of rural life in both states. Not afraid to tackle tough questions, she writes about people who grow spiritually through the difficulties life tosses in their paths.
Read more about Melinda.

Speak Your Mind