‘Twilight’: How Stephenie Meyer Came Up With Names for Her Characters

Because the Twilight books are based in fantasy, it makes sense that they are filled to the brim with unique characters. From vegetarian vampires to wily werewolves, the novels are packed with interesting personalities. Along with unconventional characters come some pretty uncommon names. Carlisle, Rosalie, Aro, Caius, and of course Renesmee stand out to fans. But just how did Stephenie Meyer, who authored the Twilight books, dream up such unique names for her characters?

'Twilight' author Stephenie Meyer signs a book and smiles.
‘Twilight’ author Stephenie Meyer | Amanda Edwards/WireImage

Stephenie Meyer did research to come up with appropriate names for her ‘Twilight’ characters

Diehard Twilight fans likely know that Meyer literally dreamed up the first Twilight book. A stay-at-home mom, she never had plans to become a writer. However, after dreaming about a conversation of an ethereal being telling a girl that he loved her yet wanted to kill her, Meyer had to know what happened next. Consumed by the idea, Meyer expanded upon her dream, which would eventually become the origin of Bella and Edward’s love story.

Of course, not every part of Meyer’s writing process was that fluid. Things like character development and plot required Meyer to do more tinkering. Something that Meyer actually devoted a lot of research to was naming characters. The Twilight author wanted to ensure that the names matched who her characters were and the time period in which they grew up.

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“For Jasper’s name, I searched roll calls for the confederate army in Texas,” Meyer shared when discussing Twilight on her website. “Both ‘Jasper’ and ‘Whitlock’ are on those lists, but not together. The name Cullen exists on seventeenth-century English headstones. Other names I find by time and place of birth—I look through the most baby popular names from that year or census records from that city. Some things are more random; if I’m really stuck for a surname, I’ll flip through the phone book. For Edward, I wanted a name that had once been very romantic, but had fallen out of use.”

Why Meyer made up the name Renesmee

The name Renesmee, of course, was a result of the author’s imagination. Though Meyer searched through tons of baby websites for the perfect name for one of her most unique characters, she quickly realized that nothing was suitable. Once that was decided, she opted to make something up on her own. She dreamt up Renesmee’s name five years before the first Twilight movie even premiered in theaters. So by the time fans were commenting on its strangeness, Meyer had forgotten how bizarre it was.

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Bella was a more personal choice for the ‘Twilight’ author

Another name that wasn’t the product of research was Bella’s. Instead, Meyer went in a more personal direction for the name of her protagonist and main character. “Bella was the hardest for me to name, because I needed a modern name but nothing seemed to encompass her personality,” the Twilight author revealed. “I tried a lot of things that didn’t fit at all. In the end, having just surrendered the hope of ever having a daughter, I gave her the name I would have given one of my children if any of them had decided to be a girl.”

Clearly, finding the right names for her beloved characters was important to the New Moon writer. Considering many diehard Twilight fans have gone on to use said names in their personal life, Meyer’s attention to detail is likely much appreciated.