I was wondering how you come up with names of your characters? The most unusual way I come up with names is to walk cemeteries with paper and pen. Somehow, I feel I'm keeping the spirit of the person alive. Especially when I see an unattended gravesite. Perhaps this person has no more relatives or is forgotten by their ancestors. Is this stupid of me? Is it disrespectful? Anyhow, I'm sure others have unique ways of naming their characters. I'd be really interested to know.

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Comment by Dennis Webster on July 7, 2009 at 7:19am
The yearbook idea is a great one. I guess us writers have to be resourceful. I always thought Sipowitz was a great cop name. NYPD Blue had some terrific writing.
Comment by Dana King on July 7, 2009 at 3:48am
I think cemeteries is a good idea, especially if you're looking for names of an era.

I've taken names from the credits of Connie Fletcher's books when I needed Chicago cops. The current WIP takes place in a fictional version of my hometown, which is a heavily ethnic area, so I pulled out my high school yearbooks and got a cross-section from there, mixing and matching first names with last. This also recalled memories of other names from my school days, which came in handy for less than sympathetic characters.
Comment by Dennis Webster on July 6, 2009 at 8:12am
That's very smart, John. I did look and the year I was born, Dennis was in the top 20. Now it's not even in the top 1000. Thanks for the great feedback.
Comment by John McFetridge on July 6, 2009 at 4:33am
For first names I look at the most popular baby names from the year the character was born. Well, I usually look a little further down the list than the top ten. For last names it depends on the ethnic origin of the characters. In my last novel I had some characters from Iran so I looked at the roster for the Iranian World Cup team.

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