When writing a novel, choosing names for your characters can be alternately fun and frustrating. I would doubt that any of my books go from start to finish with all the same names; many of them undergo several iterations before I’m happy with them. Personally, I love figuring out a name for a new, important character, but it can be a long and bumpy journey, especially if I don’t think it through completely. Here are some things to consider: Continue reading “Author Tips: Choosing Names for Your Characters”
From the name of your protagonist, your evil antagonist, your main and subsidiary characters and minions, your chapter titles (if you use them), right through to the title of your masterpiece – do the actual names matter? They obviously matter to the creator – the author – but do they really matter to the reader, to the general public? In my humble opinion: You bet your life they do!
Names have a certain ring to them, and unless you’re writing something that is deliberately farcical, or really tongue in cheek, like the old James bond movies, with Plenty O’Toole or Pussy Galore, you should use names that don’t immediately snap the reader out of their state of suspended disbelief. Continue reading “Names in Books – How Much Do They Matter?”
I’ve just started writing a new book. I’ve had the main idea swimming around in my brain for a month or two, but just in the past couple weeks have I put together some research that is vital to the story, plus some ideas of who the main characters are and what the arc of their story will be. So far I’ve got a couple thousand words down, and within that short period of time, I’ve changed several characters names two or three times.
I love this phase of writing. I love naming my characters. At this point, I will happily, almost giddily, watch the news, a golf tournament, any sports channel with a crawler just so I can peruse the names that flow by. I could very literally sit down and read a phone book for a couple hours and be happy as a clam. For a woman who’s never been pregnant, I have an obscene number of baby name books.
Mahan, Riggs, Spieth, Charleston, Wertzel, Howland, Grogan. I love playing with the names. I test out several for each character, some monosyllabic, some polysyllabic. Why does the number of syllables matter? Let’s play a game. What sounds better? Continue reading “What’s in a Name? A Rose is a Rose …”
Okay, in real life I’m terrible with names. I get introduced to someone, and the last thing I remember is his or her name. I like to think it’s not laziness. I know that a person’s name bears no relationship to what that person is really like. It was chosen for them before they were born, and has had a minor influence on the shaping of their personality. “A Boy Named Sue” excepted. All those prejudices that people have about people’s names are just that: prejudices. So when I first meet someone, I am looking to other clues as to his or her personality.
However, when creating names for a story, the situation is completely reversed. If I’m creating a character to meet my readers, suddenly all those prejudices become really important. I want a name that clicks immediately. If I want a he-man character, I want a name that says so. An evocative name is worth more than a thousand words of description. Continue reading “Creating Names for Fantasy”