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How to choose fiction names for characters

It is a complex task to choose the right names for fictional characters. All the unique ones are hard to choose, especially if we want them to convey characteristics or special qualities. The names must carry a lot about the characters’ personalities, backgrounds, and the roles in the story. Here are some tips to help you choose fiction names for characters.

Illustration of Alama, a character from the graphic novel Forged by light and fire
Illustration of Alama, a character from the graphic novel Forged by light and fire


Consider the Setting 

The story's setting will influence the names of your characters. If your story is set in a specific time or location, consider using the names that were popular during that time or in that place.  

For example: since our story Forged by light and fire is set before the creation of man, we used the former names of Satan or Shaitan like Iblis and Azazil. Satan is the antagonist to the Creator and dispatches the name of our protagonist and his gang. Azazel and Azazil as names are just a derivation from the same Semitic languages in the Middle East. In this case, the setting, the Garden of Eden, says a lot about the chosen names. 

Following our example, if your story is set in Medieval Europe or England, you might like to research the names that were used in that place and period, that is why plenty of stories with that setting have names like Arthur, Guinevere, or Lancelot. 


Match the Names with the Characters’ Backgrounds 

The characters’ Backgrounds could influence the choice of their names. You might consider their family history, community culture, religion or spiritual milieu and social status when choosing a name. For example, if your characters come from a wealthy family, you might choose a name culturally used to reflect their social status, such as Victoria or Alexander, which are names widely associated with a higher position because were names commonly used in royal families.  

Use the Meaning of their Names 

In our story, we chose the name of Alama as a doe-djinn to which we considered her to be a foundation in our series, so far. Her name truly carries what we want her to represent, because it means sign, and it is a name we took from the Swahili language. The names’ meaning can add an extra layer of depth to your character. Consider choosing a name that reflects your characters’ personalities or role in the story. For example, if your character is brave and strong, you might choose a name like Leo, which means “lion.”  


Get Creative 

Do not be afraid to get creative when choosing names for your fictional characters. You can combine names, use nicknames, or even make up your own names, if the story needs it, your character could be known more for his nickname, or even change his name according to the story. For instance, in Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker changes his name when his character passes through a major change and becomes Darth Vader.  


Think It Out 

The names must be from your carefully thought-out characters. Meaning, it could be the characters first or the name first, regardless, the characters names must come from your story as alive as possible and well thought-out.  

For example, we chose the name Aizra’eil which means Help from El (or Eil which means God) for one of our main characters. He guides and helps the characters, teaching them the histories and names in heaven and earth. 


Names Should Be Easy to Remember 

Alama is a name that is easy to learn. It also fits the character well – at least for her purpose in the story. Readers want to be able to remember the names of the characters they bond with.  


If you follow these tips, you can create a consistent story, because by doing so you will also go over the setting and the character’s background. Do not be afraid to get creative and have fun with the process as we did when we created Forged by light and fire, which is our first book, from a long series we are proud to be a part of.


Now that you know the origin of Alama, Aizra’eil and Azazil’s name, you could read their stories, and see if they are up to their names.  

Forged by light and fire graphic novel

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