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How Do You Choose Your Characters Name?

It’s that time of the week – Tuesday Discussion.

For those new to my blog, each week I post a topic (relevant to my WIP) and try to unravel the mysteries and perspectives of it. Last weeks post was How Do You Find Your Characters Voice? and this week’s post is:

How do you choose your characters name?

Choosing a character name for your novel is as pressure-filled as picking a name for a baby. It has to suit the character’s personality, names like Harry Potter, Holden Caulfield, and Stephanie Plum are memorable not just because of the amazing stories they navigate, but also because of these names “fit” those characters so well. You need a name that “fits” your character too.

Coming up with a great name for your characters is one of the hardest tasks you’ll ever complete as a fiction writer. On one hand, you don’t want to saddle your characters with ordinary, pedestrian names; and on the other, going too “creative” with your name choices can distract or even confuse your reader.

I use these two tips to get the characters name:

  1.  Look at the meaning of the name. The name Caleb means “faithful” or “faithful dog,”. Some readers will know the name’s root meaning, but those who don’t might sense it. One name that always plays on my mind is Thorin Oakenshield. He used a shield of oak wood in the battle for Moria.
    In my debut novel, ‘A Time of Stones,’ one of the protagonist’s name is Autumn. I chose that name because has a deep inner need for quiet, and a desire to understand and analyze the world they live in, and to learn the deeper truths.
  2. Speak them out loud. Your novel might become an audiobook or an e-book with text-to-speech enabled. A perfectly good name on paper, may sound unclear aloud. Make sure you check your vowels in the names, a common misunderstanding for fantasy names is the ae, ea, ie, ie, oa and ao.

Naming characters just right is a challenge, but give it some time and thought, and you’ll start to find the fun in it.


Is there any certain ways you choose your characters name?

Post your comments and answers below. If you think someone has an interesting point of view and answer, please invite them or share this post with them.

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