I make up most of my character names. I write paranormal romance so most of my characters are members of the Forest Races and I need to keep that in mind when I name them. Bob and Jo, just won’t cut it.
At the beginning, I used to just randomly collect letters and hope what I came up with was a name…that didn’t work so well. Turns out words aren’t that easy to make up. Besides, I have a tendency to like some letters more than others. My made up names started to sound alike. A nightmare for the poor reader!
What I finally came up with was a game. I chose a trait that represents the character I’m trying to name and translate that word into another language–usually French or Spanish. Then I change or move one or two letters to fit my needs.
For example, Nior. He’s a norn guard. He’s got a dark side to his personality, so I thought of the word: Noir in French. It means black and I thought it fit him like a glove. I changed the vowels, made sure it ended in an ‘r’ (all norn male names have to end in ‘r’) and voila! I had my name.
I also try to have fun with the names for those characters that are human. I choose some that mean something or are special in some way but I have to be careful not to name them after people I know. I joked with one of my friends that I might name a villain after them and they almost lost their cookies.
Some of my names I love like, Baphrem. I don’t know how I came up with that one but I love it. Others, I like less. The hardest part is figuring out how to pronounce words that don’t actually exist.