Fiction · Plan · Reading · Write

Naming your characters

Enlight28

You spend a lot of time creating compelling characters, and you want them to be both believable and relatable. While their personalities and life circumstances matter quite a bit, so do their names.

How can you find the right name for your characters?

There are a lot of names to choose from, and you want to select names that will reflect who your characters are. This means looking into logical names for each individual, and figuring out what will work the best in your story.

You will want to consider the time period your story takes place, the culture of the character you are writing about, and how a name will relate to the individual you are thinking of. You want your readers to be able to remember the names of your characters and be able to easily differentiate between them. This means that you should choose names that will be reasonably simple for them to pronounce, and that are different from others found in your story. If you use names that are too similar you run the risk of people mixing up your characters and misinterpreting your work quite a bit.

You also want to think about works that have already been put out into the world, and steer clear of popular names unless there is a really good reason not to. For example, it’s a pretty good idea to refrain from using the name Bella in a vampire story unless your character was named after the works of Stephenie Meyer due to her parent’s obsession with the teenager in her novels.

You also want to think about how the name will impact the reader’s view of the character. Would a short and sweet name be ideal for a straight-forward character? Or would a long, drawn out name better display this nature due to the irony of it belonging to her?

It’s great to stick to names you love, but there may be reasons to veer from these. It’s important to choose names based on what they will add to your work, and not simply on a whim. There will likely be a time and a place to use a favored name, but it may not be in the piece you are currently working on.

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