Character-Building Challenge Day 1: Names

Creating a Character by Maria L. Berg 2023

Happy first of March. Today is the first day of the first Writer’s Digest Character-Building Challenge. The first prompt is to create ten character names.

New Character Names

For today’s names I used my Character Creation Spreadsheet and a random number generator. Middle names made a big difference to me this morning, and when a first and middle no longer fit with the chosen last name, I kept trying random numbers until I found one that I liked better. Then, when I looked at my list, I switched a couple of last names around.

  1. Raine William Black
  2. Sonia Havana Cashion
  3. Seok Birch Purkey
  4. Seneca Lynn Zimmer
  5. Davenna Dale Byron
  6. Annette Rochelle Pudlewski
  7. Merle Atlantis Tremble
  8. Kirsi Jean Roth
  9. Pheak Bree Lebbesmeyer
  10. Shusha Moon Nguyen

I can already see Sonia Havana Cashion with high fashion shopping bags, Davenna Dale Byron reading a romance in a bubble bath with candles, Annette Rochelle Pudlewski calling the cops on her neighbors, Merle Atlantis Tremble daydreaming with a book in his lap. Now I’m excited for the next prompt to see what these characters get up to.

My Novel Draft

I thought I would use the prompts to take a close look at my novel draft’s characters and develop them further. Each of the five main characters in my novel represent one of the big five contradictory abstract nouns: Truth/Deceit, Beauty/ Ugliness, Happiness/Despair, Love/Apathy, Wisdom/Naivete. When I created the first and last names for these characters, I used the first rule mentioned in The 7 Rules of Picking Names for Fictional Characters by Elizabeth Sims and looked for names with root meanings that aligned with the abstract nouns the characters represent.

Today’s prompt made me realize that I didn’t give my characters middle names. But those middle names never came up either. It’s not that often that our middle names come up in daily life, at least not in my experience. However, parents usually put some thought into those middle names, and the names often have family connection, so choosing middle names may give me a little more information about my characters. To find middle names, I continued to look at name meanings that went with the character’s abstract nouns, and imagined their frustrated mothers or fathers saying the two names together to express the seriousness of a situation.