The Fun of Naming

If you're following me on Facebook you probably know I am waist deep in a Fast Draft challenge right now. I'm writing twenty pages in a day to have my first draft complete in two weeks. When I started, I pulled out random names from thin air for all the characters knowing I planned on going back to change the names as needed. I'm now going back. LOL I'd been thinking off and on how I wanted the names to be when I haven't been actively writing since I have to focus on the writing then. I reached over and pulled out my trusty baby name book. And that got me to stop - I actually thought "my trusty baby name book."

I've had 35,000+ Baby Names by Bruce Lansky forever it seems like. I have two other baby name books which occasionally get pulled out, but it is this mass-market paperback which has stayed with me since 1995. Yep, about 16 years. How do I know? Because it was brand new when I went in and bought it from a Crown Bookstore. Remember those?

I've probably bought a dozen baby name books since then, very few have stayed past their initial flip through when I was pregnant both times and checking out the "new" baby name books.

This volume remains. The cover is pretty bent and mangled, pages are beginning to fall out, but it is my go to book. Even though I also frequent baby name websites A LOT, I still go to this book about fifty percent of the time. I'm not sure why beyond many a character's name has been found inside the covers. The rest of the time it is usually an online site. In fact, my favorite one is 20,000+ I love the Special Categories section and just discovered this site a little over a year ago. For my new book I wanted names which mean white, low and behold a huge list of such names within Special Categories, Colors, White. Oh, how I love the special categories section. One annoying part is all the pop ups on the site, but I am willing to keep clicking the Xs just to use it - that's how helpful and useful this site is.

Between 35,000+ and this website I am in naming bliss. What tools do you use to name your own characters?


  1. I usually google for baby names and so many websites pop out. I piece them together, throw away those that just don't 'sound right,' and keep searching until it clicks. (As my characters are mainly Asians, I tend to pick out English and Chinese names. I'll rely on the Chinese names I have heard of to accomplish the latter. Rather fun!)

    Will check out the book you've recommended soon, Angelia!

  2. There are a ton of baby name sites and it is so easy to get lost in them. I tend to get frustrated as they often don't let me search for what I want. the 20,000+ site seems to fit my type of searching best.

    In looking for the picture of the 35,000 baby name book I saw the author has a more recent one 100,000 baby names. I was so tempted to order it. :-) What I like best about the 35,000 name book is the alternate spellings feature, it has the most variations per name of any of the other baby name books I looked at. Great if you write fantasy or sci fi or just want something simple with a little twist of unusual.


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