June 18, 2013

Chrys’ Writing Rules: Give Big Thought to a Character's Name

In other posts I have told you how to create a character's appearance, personality, voice, and relatedness. But I have never told you the importance of a character’s name, which is a few degrees more vital than their appearance.

If you have had a baby or gotten a new pet recently, you know the struggle of finding the perfect name for your offspring or furry friend. It is the same for thinking of a name for your characters. 

There a number of ways to name a character. You can spend hours trying to concoct a unique name like I have done, scrounge through baby name books or websites, or borrow names from friends and relatives. 
TIP: If you use someone’s name, alter the spelling.
Whatever way you decide to find names for your characters, give big thought to them. The name you choose has to feel right when you think of your character. Does it match your vision of him/her? If it does then make it permanent by writing it into your book!

Sometimes a name that you give to a character doesn’t seem to fit after awhile. I have had to rename characters for this reason, or because I thought of a name that rang more true. For the female protagonist in my series, I ended up changing the spelling of her name three times! Why? Because a name is important and the spelling has to be right too.
TIP: One of my favorite ways to find names is by reading the credits at the end of movies. I have also used street names for character names.
Finally, don’t reuse names in other stories. You may get away with it once, but don’t attempt it more than that. If you get published and have loyal readers who devour all of your books, they may notice and think that you’re not that creative if you can’t think of new character names. I have read books by an author that has recycled the same names in several of her books and it became rather annoying.

Annoying your readers is always a big NO-NO!

SHARE: How do you name your characters?

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