Worldbuilding & Research with SF Benson

Naming Characters & Worldbuilding

One of my favorite things about creating characters is naming them. Sometimes the names just seem to magically come to me. When my alter ego was planning an adult paranormal romance set in New Orleans, the name Twilight Vanpeer struck in the shower. Most times, it’s not that easy. Usually, I have to apply a bit of thought.

When developing your characters in a fantasy world, you have to consider the time period. What names were popular in that century? What about that country? In writing All Things Dark & Magickal: The Glass Watch I had to do some research. What names were popular in the nineteenth century? What names were common in Victorian England?

A simple internet search can provide you with lists of possible names to use. I have one source that I absolutely love and highly recommend:

This book is divided ethnically. Kenyon also gives writers sources for finding names online and doing research.

How important is accuracy in the names?

You want the reader to believe your story. If your story is set in Medieval England, would you believe a character named Becky Schwartz? If your story is set in Japan and all of your characters are supposed to be of Asian descent, would Enrique Martinez belong there?

It all comes down to giving your reader as genuine a story as possible. Creating the right name is part of that responsibility. Don’t stress over it! Remember to keep it fun. Names can be frivolous identifiers or indicators of your characters’ personas. The choice is yours.

Want to check out my lists of character names? They’re all on Pinterest!

Until next time…

We Write Fantasy Feature Graphics & Profiles


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