Tonight's a great night to give you a few quick tips on finding the right names for your novel's characters. I love to get little tidbits of information that make my life easier in the writing game, so I hope this helps you the way it helped me.
Picking names for characters is a very important part of your work. I used to love to come up with these crazy names that were unique and special to me. It was fun to dig around into different ethnic groups to choose just the right one. The problem became the ability for readers, well really editors and agents, to pronounce them. I didn't see how they could have such a hard time, but they were working for the masses, not some word artist.
I also had to admit that people relate time periods to certain names. Crazy names don't fit into any specific time period, and I write contemporary romance.
I had to scale back the craziness. In my search for baby names I found a great website: http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/#ht=1.
You may be surprised to see what this data base is. It's the Social Security Administration that has become such a great resource to me. This site allows you to pick names by the popularity and year. After scrolling through the site, I couldn't believe how much easier name picking became.
Now I decide how old my character is and put the year into the search window. I also like to raise the viewing number to the top 100 names. This gives me the top names in the country for that year.
You may still want to use a unique name for your main characters, but try this resource for the rest of them. You'll wonder how you lived without this website once you start.
What resources have you discovered for names? I'd love to hear from you.