Posted in Fiction

Names Can Be Hair Raising

Choosing a name for your fictional characters may appear easy first, and for your minor characters it most likely is. For me it was anyway. But for your major characters it can be time consuming (and maybe a little hair raising). That could depend on the author too. I had fun with this task even though it took quite a bit of time.

Things I considered when choosing a name for my characters are listed below. Please keep in mind not everyone will have the same ideas.

  • Character’s personality— It’s been my experience that names reflect a certain quality or personality trait of a person. But it does come down to personal choice. Would you want your hero to be named Melvin, Jack, Evan, or Bubba. I know, I know, we can run the risk of being stereotypical which is what you don’t want. See why this can be more difficult that you think?
  • What is their role in the story?— In other words the meaning of their name is directly connected to the story itself. In which case you will need to look at the meanings of names in addition to the names themselves. I found that by doing this, the name you choose won’t be so stereotypical.
  • Ethnic group— You have to know your character, their background, ethnicity, etc. If your character is Italian, maybe his/her parents wanted to stick with tradition and name them a name that’s traditionally Italian. On the other hand, maybe his/her parents wanted to break away from tradition and go with a French name instead of an Italian one. Bring that out in your story because by doing that it makes your character more real and stand out, which will bring about a connection with your readers.
  • Ask others for ideas— Just like in my last post. I employ my son’s assistance even with this. I had to change a character’s name toward the 3/4 mark of my book. But this time it was my daughter who was instrumental in this decision.

Make this task fun. I know, some things can be a chore if it takes to long. The trick is not to put too much pressure on yourself. There was a point in my book when I had to give my protagonist a title. I had absolutely no clue whatsoever what to give her. After racking my brain, I couldn’t come up with anything, I gave her a temporary title. I called her The One ( I still laugh at this). It worked though because, when I went back to it later (much later), I was able to give her the appropriate title of Triunifier. Relax your brain, write, and keep writing. The ideas are there. They just need coaxing to get them out.


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