Monday, January 12, 2015
What's in a Name?
1. Don't overcomplicate the name. If the name is too complex that even you can't pronounce it then it's probably not a good idea to give it to your character. For instance, Haoilmclj - would be a terrible name for a character. And I apologize if this is your actual name. But what the ?!%! is that. If you want to try and be unique study authors like Suzanne Collins and J.K. Rowlings - they've created timeless characters that have very unique names.
2. Don't start all your character's names with the same letter. In my series, Finding Me, I had to make a few changes to names after I'd written the book and a few of my beta readers stumbled on the names a few tines. I had Chris and Christa and Chloe and other "C" names thrown in there. It was too much. So, I went back and changed the names so each character would be totally distinct.
3. Don't give every single character a name. In our every day lives we encounter many people. Just standing in the grocery line I can strike up a conversation with someone but I never know that person's name. If a character is only filler, a small background person to set the scene, has no distinguishing story arc, does not advance the plot whatsoever, don't give them a name. Or give them a describer name. For instance, in my book Finding Me, my main character takes quick inventory of people standing in line in front of her. One such character never speaks a word but she describes her action, her noise is bleeding and she's holding a piece of tissue to it. And thus "nose bleed girl" is how she is referred to throughout the scene. She's only in this scene as filler, like background noise to set the mood but she has no significant role.
4. Do creative things with names. My series is urban fantasy so my characters names are common. But I gave many of them nicknames like, CC, Tee, Em... I also had other characters make up his/her own funny names for characters in my book Enlighten Me. For instance, he gave main character, Chloe/Amanda the name Sybil - because of the multiple personalities...later he even shortened it to Syb. He does this a lot and it's a great way to show how a character feels about another character in the story.
Do you have a unique spin on how you name characters? Do you enjoy to read books with characters that have difficult names?
Have a great day. Read a book and laugh!