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  • Rachael Bell-Irving

It's All in the Name

One of the smallest details of writing a book, that often has a major impact on both writer and reader, is the name of characters.


Everyone has a different process when it comes to naming characters. Sometimes you might write a character with the name already in mind, or it just comes to you. Other times it takes hours upon hours of sifting through random baby name websites (hello strange search history) in order to find the right fit. So how do you start?


Honestly, the baby name website is not a joke. That is one of the best ways to get a quick list of names to find one that fits. If you are anything like me, then finding websites that highlight the meaning behind the names tends to be the most effective strategy.


I have spent more time than I would like to admit on Behind the Name website, so much so that it is bookmarked on my web browser. This is by no means a complete comprehensives list of names in the world, but I do find it a really helpful place to start when I don't have a name already in mind.

Here is the meaning behind some of my character names (according to this one website). Some of the characters are from the Urban Fantasy series, and some are from other projects I'm working on:


Jessica = (Jess-i-ca) named after my roommate and dear friend from university. The name Jessica, in this spelling, was first used in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice"


Damien = (Day-me-in) I don't know where this came from. It just stuck. It is apparently the French version of Damian, which means to tame, from a Greek origin.


Isla = (eye-la) named for one of my mom's friends, and a name I absolutely love. A variant of Islay, from the name of the island of Islay, which lies off of the west coast of Scotland.


Thalia = (Tal-ee-a) a name of Greek origin that means to blossom. Also the muse for comedy and pastoral poetry in Greek Mythology. My mom gave me the idea for this name, and it is the main character for the first story I ever wrote.


Raiden = (Ray-den) a name of Japanese origin that means thunder and lightning


Malika = (Mal-ee-ka) means queen in Arabic. I wanted a name that meant queen and this name suited her perfectly (she goes by Mali for short).


And as an added bonus, the name Rachael means female sheep. Score...


What does your name mean? Does it have significant meaning to you?