Many people ask how to find character names. There are many ways to do it. Personally, my favorite Names are those which I pulled from my life so that I have a deep connection with them.
I grew up in Minnesota and now live in California. I like being tied to my birthplace and so many of my character's names are towns, places, and people from my old life there. This photo here is from Pierz. Its a sweet little town with an AMAZING meat market that my family always stalks up on beef jerky when we drive through. When I was in need of a good name for my guild leader, Pierz came to mind, and it stuck.
Sometimes towns have an interesting group of letters but isn't quite right. This is how I created my main character, Alden. His name derived from Arden Hills, another town in Minnesota. I liked the look of the word but not how it sounded. I threw in other letters until Alden flowed off the tongue and I fell in love.
Needing a buddy for Alden I thought of the name Briar under the assumption I had seen a town called Briar Lake. I zoomed into the map and searched the area around the Twin Cities in Minnesota. No Briar Lake. I had been thinking of Prior Lake. Curious, I typed it into the search bar. Where it took me made my mouth hang open. It was up North in the Boundary Waters. A neat location as it was where Brimley (my kingdom) is geographically inspired from—however, that’s not why I stared in awe. Out of over ten thousand lakes in Minnesota, the lake a stone's throw beside Briar Lake was Alden Lake. They were fated to be.
Not all of my names come from towns of course. Sometimes I overhear a conversation wrong blending words into something unique. I play Dungeons and Dragons and once there was an enemy marked X10. That grabbed my attention and now I have a knight named Exten.
I've also used other languages to create a name. I have a pirate who is very rat-like. so i searched "rat" in a Turkish to english translation and got Sican. That's a good pirate name i thought and kept it.
I have a large Crab-like sand monster thing... I searched what the word 'Monster' translates to in Turkish. it was Canavar. That's cool! I thought, but needed to beef it up. I then took inspirations from how Centaur is spelled and changed it to Canavaur. But that looked as if i misspelled carnivore as i was pointed out. So I Swapped it to a k. Kanavaur is now my crazy sand beast.
This applies with places too. Brimley I named after searching for Angelo Saxon terms. Brim means a bend in a river, which is where the castle sits. ley is a clearing in the woods.
This is a great link to help with place names:
Ammos is my desert Island Kingdom. Ammos means sand in greek.
Dregs is a kingdom at the mouth of a river. Dregs means the last remaining sediment. These can be found at a river's end.
Marram is a on a penisula with lots of sandy and grassy terrain, much like Florida. Marram is a course coastal grass.
Hiore is a kingdom in the mountains where ore is plenty... High Ore. It is a pun.
Below Hiore is a town called Basevein. The base of a mountain which has veins of ore.
And my world is called Vatan, meaning Homeland in Turkish.
Always being observant is key to finding these names. Pay attention to street signs. Movie credits. Clients you may work with. When you find one write it down asap on a google doc. That way it is accessible wherever and if your phone dies and you've only written it on a notepad hundreds of characters won't parish like what happened with my list. 😭 I've got a new list now and pull from it any time i'm in need.