An Esmerelda (or rose!) by any other name would be just as sweet, wouldn’t she? I think not.
What we name our characters is important. If you’re like me, the story swirling around in your head can’t begin to mesh until you’ve found just the right name. Here are some tips.
Click to read the updated version 8 Tips for Naming Characters.
Good tips on naming, and most are true even with created names (well, besides the meaning, though you still have to check for echoes).
Yes, you’re the one who first pointed out my echoey names in my second manuscript!
Patricia Woodside says
One more factor…age. The character’s generation makes a big difference. Popular names today are very different than when we were born. The names should be common–not only the name, but the spellings–for the time in which the character would have been born.
Right. I probably should have made that a point all by itself, but I did allude to it in the summation at the bottom. I often google names from a certain decade when naming characters! (Unless I remember all my kids’ classmates’ names–or my own! lol)
Claire Goverts says
Some really good points in here, nice post. When I’m naming my characters I like to use babynames and behindthename.com websites. Behind the name has a random name generator which is fun, and it even allows for checking which ethnicity one wants generated.
Not that I’ve updated it in awhile, but I have an Access database for my writing which includes a characters table. I have a report set up so I can view all my characters and see all their names.
I was reading a book awhile back with a main character named Bren, and there were a few scenes with him and a group of characters. One of the other characters was named Ben, and I had to keep double checking when one of them was mentioned in the scenes.
(I blogged about names for A to Z today for my N topic, and I linked to your post. I thought other writers might be interested to).
Hi Claire! Thanks for passing on the link 🙂 And yeah, Bren and Ben are rather close!
Quinn Ainsley says
How bad is it if the ending sounds are same or similar? Due to enthnicity, I have three characters who’s names end in ‘o’, but they have different numbers of syllables.
I’d be careful of it, Quinn, and make sure that the other syllables are different. No Alberto and Umberto, for instance! First letters are more important than endings, but anything that blurs the eye to think it might be the same name bears a second thought.