Which Name Should I Use?

I have two characters who I've considered many names for but am still not sure what to call them. I would like your oppinions. Not that I don't value your suggestions, but I've considered so many names already, I don't really feel I need any more suggestions, (I think more suggestions will just make my choice harder,) just oppinions on what I'm already considering, please:

Character #1 Name Options:

Mitchell "Mitch"











This character is very pessimistic, but still sensitive & considerate towards others

Note: This character has siblings, but their names will be decided after his.

Character #2 Name Options:






Samson "Sam"










This character isn't developped enough yet, so I don't really know what to say about him -- sorry. But I know he will be kind of nerdy.

Note: This character has an older brother, Colton "Cole", & two younger sisters, Fallon & Hollis

*I'm not sure if these are really all of the names I considered for these characters, there may have been more options that I forget, but I don't think so.


December 16, 2012 8:58 AM

Character #2 also has a younger brother named Travis. I also considered Hunter for Character #1.

December 14, 2012 10:57 PM

For character 1, I'd go with Mitchell, Gage, North, or Isaac. I just finished reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, and one of the main characters is named Mitchell. Your description of someone who is pessimistic yet considerate describes him very well, so that's my new impression of the name. I think that Gage, North, and Isaac (despite the meaning of one who laughs) also have the gravitas to carry that description well.

None of the names on the second list sound nerdy to me except Dunlap, but that almost sounds like a joke name for a nerd. I wouldn't do that one--too easy to make fun of a kid with that name, which would be cruel for a character you know might get picked on anyway. With siblings named Colton, Fallon, and Hollis, I'd stick to one of the surname-type names and cross Jeremiah, Anton, Isaac, Luke, Xavier, and Lachlan off the list.

Happy naming!

December 15, 2012 8:26 AM

Thanks for giving your oppinion, Elizabeth T.


December 17, 2012 1:18 PM

So here's what I've decided so far:

Character #1's father is a Shakespeare prof.

I feel like he's the kind of person to want to pick "sophisticated" names for his kids.

Character #1 will be named Lysander. However, [if I'm pronouncing the name correctly] Lysander will probably be called Xander by all but his father (what do you think of the nickname? Is it needed?) 

Mitch was very close to being chosen, but I'd like to reserve that for a different character -- I don't know who I will use Mitch on yet, though.

Lysander's older sister will be Ophelia. He also has a little brother. I like Leander, but it's definately too close, & kind of rhymes with nickname Xander. Any suggestions for the younger brother's name are welcome. (Should be a name used or invented by Shakespeare, please.) 


December 17, 2012 2:12 PM

This is just my feeling on the issue, but I think that a professor of Shakespeare might not use only the obvious names that every high school student thinks of when thinking of Shakespeare characters. I think that it would feel more... authentic?... if at least a couple of the names were slightly more obscure - that they didn't shriek "Shakespeare" to anyone with a rudimentary education.

December 17, 2012 3:10 PM

I'll look into less common Shakespeare names.

Thanks for commenting. :)




December 17, 2012 3:12 PM

Does anyone know of less common Shakespearean names?


December 17, 2012 3:41 PM

My Shakesperian colleague named his children Christopher, David, and Katherine, so there you have it.  Shakespeare named his son Hamnet.

A list of all male Shakespeare characters: http://www.namenerds.com/uucn/shakes.html

Enjoy yourself.

December 17, 2012 4:51 PM

Um. My husband is David, his brother is Christopher, and his sister is Kathryn. Dad-in-law is a biologist, though, not a Shakespeare scholar.

I think this is a demonstration that fashion is a stronger influence on baby-naming than parental occupation, especially the further back you go in time.

December 24, 2012 9:14 PM

I now welcome suggestions for naming Character #1...

I have considered some more option for Character #1, but I don't think I'm really "committing" to any.

To put into perspective:

Let's say you're naming your unborn son. You make a long list of names you like. You think you've found the perfect name, but then it doesn't stick, or you liked it a lot for a day or two, but afterwards it doesn't feel right. You go back to your list, and you cross off some more options... Then you realise none of your options work as you hoped. You brainstorm some more names. They're nice ideas, but they're still not what you're really looking for. You think -- you know -- you can find better. 

I am looking for a name for Character #1 that is kind of unusual (ex: Lysander; nickname "Xander.") It can have a less unusual nickname, but I'm hoping for at least an unusual full name.


December 26, 2012 3:36 PM

I want to know what you think about the following names for Character #1:

Hunter (he loves animals, so I feel maybe this will be too ironic. Your thoughts?)

Theron (its namesake is, coincidentily, hunter, & it seems interestingly unusual. But it does sound kind of babyish to me. What do you think?)

Suggestions still very welcome. :)

December 26, 2012 5:30 PM

Yes, I think that if the character is an animal lover, then Hunter is too staged.  Theron is interesting, though the first thing I thought of was actress Charlize Theron, which I'm sure has nothing to do with your character.

When does your story take place ? Is his father still a Shakespeare-enthusiast?

What happened to "Gage" as his name?


December 27, 2012 9:00 AM

I'm not exactly sure when the story will take place. I have a rough idea though -- Character #1 will be born in the early 2000s and the story will most likely start 2-3 years after 2012.

Gage will be his brother's name, so it's totally out for him now. Sorry I forgot to mention it.

His father is still a Shakespeare-enthusiast... But all of the websites I go to lead me to the same names, which I don't think fit Character #1.

I think Theron is babyish -- don't know why I think that. If it wasn't for that oppinion, it might be a more serious contender... (If I use Theron, his alias name would be Hunter -- for another reason, of course, but I think that would be an interesting connection.)

For Character #2, I think I'll go with Jenson.

I don't think I will go with Lysander, nickname Xander (I know an unpleasant Xander, thought I could get over the personal connection but can't.) Lysander in full is still an option. But now that I think about it, Lysander seems too Shakespearean.

Also, would it be odd if Character #1 had a Shakespearean name, but his older sister & younger brother didn't? 

Does knowing the brother is named Gage help? I am considering Marie & Amanda for the sister. I don't like Marie's meaning, but don't think Amanda works well with Gage. (A pet peeve of mine is stories where there are siblings' names that I don't think match, so having siblings names that I feel "match" is really important to me.) ... Ironically, I am the opposite with real kids names & dislike when parents choose names their kids' names just because they match with their siblings'... But I think choosing kids' names & character names is very different, though I've never done the latter.


January 1, 2013 5:46 PM

NoakQuade-When I first read this I thought of Anton for the nerdy character#2. I wasn't really aboe to narrow it down for#1. Then you threw the Shakespeare thought into things so I thought Lysander and Ophelia worked well. The other names I know from Shakespeare would be Hamlet, Romeo, Juliet, Macbeth, etc. Non really fit. Now I am just as confused as you. Then I read the story part about having a name and changing the name completely and it reminded me of my son's naming adventure. He was born in 2000. We had talked about names before conception and had decided upon Zachary Alexander. But you know how things go,...So life happened and now we were looking at a tiny baby through an ultrasound pretty much knowing he would be born early. Zachary didn't fit at all. We went back to the books and the only name we could agree on was Eric. Short, sweet, meaning "brave ruler" in the book we had. It was and is still perfect. He was brave and now rules the house totally. His sister 3 yrs later didn't get her pre-conception name either.

So anyway, Holden seems nerdy and Shakespearian even if it isn't. It would match with Amanda I think.

January 2, 2013 8:22 AM

Thank you for putting all that thought into your comment. I think I will use Holden for the nerdy character. Thanks for the suggestion.

But I think you`re confusing things. I checked & I think it`s Character #1 who I was searching for a Shakespearean name for, not the nerdy character.

I won't even tell you where I am with Character #1, because only a couple of days after posting what his brother's name would be, I changed it again! Of course, I really only have to decide these names for myself because I am a solo writer. I can't imagine how hard it would be to name a baby!

What do you think of this sibling set (in birth-order) now? -- Cole (Colton), Holden, Hollis, Fallon, Travis.   

I feel like maybe I should just leave this to myself, so I don`t confuse everyone by always changing things. Or I should have put the characters in different threads.

I recently thought up a way to fix that, though. A 9-month plan. I have 9 months straight to think of a character name, (because that is the same number of months people have to decide on a baby name,) and then I have to pick something. But that`s way too hard to keep track of with as many characters as I have & I wouldn`t follow it, anyway. (Just thought I`d put it out there in case it could help out other writers to decide on names.)  

January 2, 2013 6:31 PM

Yes, and you can write your whole book with a different name, then change it.  Now, it's rather easy with Word, but it was done before electronics.  "Scarlet O'Hara" was "Pansy O'Hara" in Margaret Mitchell's original manuscript!

January 2, 2013 9:10 PM

My new contenders for Character #1:

Caliban (probably would call him Cal)

Lysander (probably would call him Xander)

Ajax (this has been in the back of my mind since I first looked up Shakespearean names, but I could never fully get on board with it)

Griffith (Suits the character, but I can`t help picturing a middle-aged guy named Griffith, not a child, like the character is.)

* I am most interested in what you think of Ajax. I feel it is a bit too unusual. Your thoughts?

* I`ve read 2 Kenneth Oppel books where there are animals named Caliban, which kind of puts me off with naming a character Caliban.

*I knew an unpleasant Xander, (which makes the name less appealing so I`m not so sure this is usable for me with this character.)

* As said above, I cannot help but picture a middle-aged man named Griffith.

* The more seriously I consider using Lysander, the less I seem to like it.

* I am also looking into Greek names instead.

January 3, 2013 10:50 AM

Caliban, called Cal, sounds like an excellent choice.  Do you have last names picked?

While I like the name Ajax, it is not fitting for the character you have described (in my mind).

Do you write the story while coming up with the names, or do you have all your characters fully-formed before you write?

January 3, 2013 4:19 PM

I usually write scenes while I'm developing the characters and choosing their names, but those scenes aren't very important most of the time -- things I could use, but might not. (However, Character #1 is pretty much fully-formed now.) Most of the time, many of the names I use at the start will be temporary before I seriously look into naming them. But I am looking into a permanant name for Character #1 right now.

Another (but Greek) option I've been considering is Castor [called "Beaver" frequently, because Castor is French for Beaver.]  

I am open to surname suggestions, as I am planning to leave the surname for after I've chosen his first name.

January 4, 2013 1:10 AM

You know how a first encounter with a name can really influence your perception of said name? Well, when I was a kid, I watched the 1960 Disney movie Toby Tyler a LOT and there was an arrogant, bullying guy named Ajax in that movie and I've never been able to have positive feelings towards the name since.

My next association is the cleaning powder. Then Greek mythology and the character's strength and power in battle and ultimate demise. I can't remember how you described the character you're considering naming Ajax, but just be sure that the Greek mythology doesn't conflict with your character, unless you're intentionally doing so ironically, since many people will be familiar with the classical associations with the name.

January 4, 2013 4:00 PM

I don't think I'll be using Ajax anyway, but thanks for telling me about those associations.

By EVie
January 5, 2013 3:31 AM

Similarly, you should probably look up Caliban before you commit to the name. Caliban in The Tempest is a pretty unpleasant character (he's guilty of attempted rape, and is commonly portrayed as a deformed monster). It seems pretty unlikely to me that a Shakespeare fan who had actually read and understood the play would use the name for his son... but maybe you can come up with some in-story explanation for it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caliban

January 6, 2013 8:31 PM

I think I've chosen a name, & would like some feedback...

Winter Christian [not sure on surname yet]

Yes, I know this is totally random, and nowhere in the realm of names I was thinking of using. But I've had some recent inspiration. (Jack Frost character in Rise of the Guardians got me thinking of the name Winter.) And I think the name fits with his background.


He was born a couple of days before Christmas. This is pretty much the in-story reason for both namesakes. (But he doesn't like his namesakes, because he hates having his special day be in competition with just about the biggest gift-giving holiday of the year.)

The second [middle name] namesake, Christian, is supposed to be ironic, because he is atheist. (I'd like to know if Christians find this offensive, because that is in no way my intention.)


Yes, I know, these are very obvious namesakes. (As you wouldn't need to Google why the name "Winter" is associated with that season & Christmas; or what a "Christian" is, & why it is ironic that it is his middle name.)  

January 10, 2013 12:24 AM

Winter could easily be a Shakespeare name--after the play The Winter's Tale. I don't think any atheist who called himself that would name a child Christian. Or do you mean his parents are devout, and the character himself is an atheist? In that case it might work, although as you say kind of obvious. You could always go with Christopher for a more subtle version of the same thing...but that might be odd for a Shakespearean, with Christopher Marlowe being one of the more common candidates for Shakespeare's "true identity".

If you wanted a theme of Shakespearan *title* names (words from titles that weren't character names) some options would be for boys: Night, Windsor, King, Phoenix (from a poem, not a play); for girls: Verona, Venice, Merry, Tempest, maybe Cymbeline (this is actually the name of a king, but sounds more like a girl's name now--cf. Emmaline, Coraline, etc.), Sonnet (again, not from a play title, but you get the idea). Some out-there possibilities would be Muchado, Allswell and/or Endswell, Whatyouwill (nickname Will). Bard is a good name to subtly honor the bard; I could also see Avon as a middle name. I think you could put together some fun sib-groups from these choices that appear to have one theme/style but are really all Shakespeare nods.

A few more Shakespeare names for you--Titus Andronicus is one of Shakespeare's least-performed plays, so Titus is a kind of Shakespearean-insider name that doesn't sound too unlikely to today's ear. Cressida falls in the same category for girls. Of course both are from tragedies, so not super-great connotations. Jessica would be a Shakespearan name with OK connotations that would have been still fairly fashionable at the time I think your characters were being born. Portia is the kind of less-obvious girl name that a Shakespeare-enthusiast looking for an awesome association might pick--she's the character in Merchant of Venice who gives the "quality of mercy" speech and gets around the "pound of flesh" thing by dressing up as a man and acting as her beloved's attorney (so also good for a feminist or attorney or daughter of same). Hal is the nickname of another fabulous character; I'm not sure if it would turn up in a list of character names since he's officially Prince Henry or Henry V, but it would be another good choice for someone who cares about the characters as much as the names (especially since he's much more sympathetic as Hal than as Henry).

Good luck!

Edited to add that the opposite of "atheist" isn't actually "Christian", it's "believer"--in anything. So you could go with something like Pagan for a twist on the same idea (arguably even further from atheist than Christian--pagans believed in many gods, Christians in only one, atheists none ;)). Or there are many names out there that mean something like "beloved of God" or faithful, though those would require a google search or name-enthusiasm to get the irony.

January 10, 2013 4:26 PM

Thank you for giving me all of those options to think about for his sibling set. I will definately take all of those things into conisderation.

To clarify, his parents are Christian & he is atheist. (Really, I just wanted a middle name he would dislike more than his first name, and for a good reason. So if I find something better, I might change it.) 

January 10, 2013 12:13 AM

Really?  It's just SO different than the others.  I mean, you know your character, but "Cal" and "Winter" bring up very different images to me.  

Are Winter's siblings names unusual?  How old is this character?  I picture Winter rather young...

"Winter Christian Lastname" has a nice flow to it, but I foresee the character having to put up with digs about his name.  It's almost like you are describing a Christ-Follower who is cold or 'wintery.'  Of course, this might be exactly what you want with his being an atheist and all!

January 11, 2013 11:42 AM

 Yeah, I know it's different. But it actually (I think) fits better with the names I'm considering for his brother & sister. I'm not entirely sold on it yet, to be honest, but I do really like it for the character.

"Cal" & "Winter" bring up very different images to me, too... so no connection there for me.

 I don't think his siblings names will be super unusual, but definately not on the top popular name lists. The idea is that he dislikes having a name that is so uncommon compared to everyone else's, including his siblings, & thinks his parents only chose the name "Winter" because he was born close to Christmas, & that they didn't put much thought into naming him, especially compared to his siblings. (He has self-esteem issues at the start & I thought it would be interesting for his name to play a part.) Plus, personally, I find characters way more interesting when they have uncommon names.

 He'll be a child to start, but he'll become a teenager.

The idea is that he dislikes his name & people will make jokes about it... (Ex: a character who he finds annoying calls him "Snowflake" as a pet name.)

I didn't think of a Christ-Follower who is cold or 'wintery.'! :)

Thanks for all of the imput


January 11, 2013 11:44 AM

I also am starting to like Nick (full name Nicholas) instead of Winter, but Nick isn't as unique as I'd like (although it does share the Christmas theme) 

If you guys have any suggestions, here is my criteria:

- Has to be unique

- Would like it to fit with the whole Christmas theme (but I'm not dead set on this)

- Not pushing the Shakespeare thing, but I like the idea


January 11, 2013 4:42 PM

I was going to suggest less usual nickname (!) for Nicholas (Nik, Nico, Nix, Coll, Cole, Claus, etc) but that doesn't fit the "unique" criterion.  Now I'm trying to think of some that are plausible but never-before-used... Niss?  Nill?!


January 11, 2013 8:07 PM

I like the idea of a more unusual nickname for Nicholas.


Nik (although visually unusual) is still just Nick to me, spelled a more creative way.

I don't really like Nico for him. I don't know why.

Nix -- I'm pretty sure there's a headlice shampoo or something called Nix... not a fan of the association.

Coll? Like Collin? "Coll," as in Collin, makes me think of the French word for glue. Sorry... nice idea, though, if it weren't for that association I hold, I might consider it.

Claus -- too much like Santa Claus, I think. And the character isn't supposed to embrace the born-near Christmas thing. Definately unique & interesting, though. Has the book-vibe too, with Klaus Baudelaire, (though not Shakespeare, still good books & well-known, too.) 

As for Cole, I already have a fairly important character in the story with this name, & I have established that character's name as Cole in my head for a long while. Otherwise I might go for it. 

Plus, I think if this character was named Nicholas, he would definately go by "Nick" by choice.

Thank you for the calander-saints suggestion, & the Nicholas nickname suggestions, too, (even though I won't end up using them, I still enjoyed reading the options for Nichoas.) I'll definately check the calander website out sometime soon. 

Niss & Nill? :) I really like that creativity! But not exactly what I'm looking for with this character. :)

January 11, 2013 4:56 PM

Another thought: if Nicholas is a bit old hat, looking through a calendar of saints whose feast days are around Christmas could bring up some more colourful names.

For instance, in this one (I'm no expert and can't comment on its reliability, though I'm sure some reading this will be able to) around Christmastime we find saints including Alberic, Caran, Charbel, Zenobius, Fulk, Eunician, Thorlac, and Ernan.

July 13, 2013 5:04 PM

For the first, Isaac and Gavin both speak to me. I can't pinpoint why, but those just seem very apt.

For the second, I would be inclined towards Lachlan if he is similar to and gets along well with his siblings, and Jeremiah if he doesn't.


Best of luck :)

July 14, 2013 3:46 PM

Thank you!