I put a lot of thought into the names I give my characters. I don’t necessarily name my characters just because I like the sound of the name; I have to see what the name means before I make sure it’s the right choice for that particular character. That doesn’t only have to do with the name’s roots or origin; it might have to do with who is associated with the name.
“Aidan” (or any variant spelling, or any name that rhymes with it – Brayden, Hayden, Caden, etc.) is a very common baby name nowadays, probably because it has a pleasing sound. The name originally belonged to a 7th century Irish monk who eventually became a saint, and the meaning of the Irish root word (aodh) is “fire,” which is also kind of cool. I wonder how many people who name their children “Aidan” are aware of the meaning/origin of the name.
Another popular baby name these days is “Jacob,” the Hebrew root of which means “to follow” or “to be behind” or “to supplant.” In the Bible, Esau was the firstborn of Rebekah and Isaac’s twins, then Jacob followed, his hand around Esau’s heel. Interestingly enough, the root of the name can also be “to cheat,” and in the Bible, Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright, which was an interesting story. The name has a lot of good stories and history behind it, and it has a nice sound to it.
I have a character called “Aeron,” which was a name that I thought sounded nice and was a nice variant on “Aaron,” which is Hebrew for “mountain of strength.” I think I might have partly derived “Aeron” from “aileron,” which is a flight-control surface attached to the edge of the wings of some aircraft. It’s also a cool word. Then I found out that “Aeron” is actually the god of battle or slaughter in Celtic mythology, which made it all even cooler, because Aeron was originally a villain. Not all of these meanings fit who the character is, but it’s neat to know them.
Random facts are always fun, and it’s especially fun to meet someone called “Calvin” and think that the meaning of their name is “bald,” or to have a character called “Amara” and know that the meaning of that name is “bitter” in Latin, but “unfading” in Greek.
So… how do you come up with your characters’ names? Do you pick names that sound nice or do you look for deeper meaning?