For those who are familiar with epic fantasy series The Ascension Legacy, many of the characters that appear in the multi-book series are based on my many characters that I’ve created and played in video games over the years. Riorik is not just the main character in my books but also the main name I use when creating new characters in new games. It has been my go-to character name for years, even before I started seriously writing The Ascension Legacy series.
But what about character names for my other books outside of The Ascension Legacy books?
Well, if I’m being honest, these books take inspiration from other sources for character names. While some books have character names that are 100% just random names like Colt Magnum, the main character in a spy novel I’m working on, other books have characters that are named after family members and close friends. One example is the lead character in one of my science fiction space adventure books named Jordyn “Kazi” Grant who is named after one of my nephews.
Some of the names were chosen just because I liked how they sounded, like Jordyn as the name for my female lead character despite the real-life namesake being a male, but others were selected as a representation of a connection between the personalities of the characters and their namesakes. For example, in the same sci-if book as Jordyn “Kazi” Grant I have a character named Curtis. In the book, Curtis is a short alien with an affinity for explosives, much like his explosive personality. In real life, my nephew Curtis is short and intelligent, a trait that the fictional Curtis also shares that allows him to craft some ingenious weapons that aid Jordyn and the rest of the crew Curtis belongs to. When I thought of what this character would be named, I considered the personality and traits of that character and it made me think of my nephew.
Another sci-fi book that I’ve written but haven’t yet published has all characters that are named from people in my family tree. Some are family members that are long dead and I never met but I wanted my ancestors represented somewhere among my body of work. Other names are combinations of names of my kids, my grandparents, my uncles, and even my brother.
For me, most of my characters have very personal names. Names of characters I play and names of family members that remind me of my fictional characters. Sure, I could come up with random names for every character but somehow that feels less connected to me as the author. I want to care about my characters and their stories, even if I know the character dies, and by connecting those characters to people I know or names of those related to me seems to help.
Will there come a time when I run out of names? I hope not. The hope is to run out of stories before I run out of names.