Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little blonde haired, blue eyed girl who danced in the rain and sang with her face angled up towards the sunlight. This little girl had a vivid imagination, would play with the fairies in her garden and sing songs she made up all afternoon long. This little girl’s name was Mildred.
Say WHAT? That’s an old lady name. More so, that’s a miserable, grumpy old lady name. That name doesn’t suit this cute little character of a girl. I can’t ever imagine calling a character I want anyone to like Mildred, let alone an adorable little girl. I will use the name Mildred if I immediately want readers to dislike my character.
Character names are super important. I’m busy doing my character sketches for a new series I am writing. And that got me thinking about how important names are as I was choosing my character’s names. Obviously, there’s a lot more to a character sketch than a name but a name is where it all starts.
A character’s name has to define the character. A character name is often one of the first introductions to the character that a reader gets.
Here are four important things I have learned when it comes to creating character names:
Pronunciation of your character names
My character names have to be easy to pronounce. If I have difficult to pronounce names it makes it difficult for my readers to associate with the character. It also slows down the reading process as every time the reader comes across the name they have to concentrate hard and sometimes even read over the name to get the pronunciation right (or as right as the reader thinks is right). I don’t want my readers feeling as if they drank too much or have gone slightly mad that they can’t pronounce a simple name.
All the names should start with a different letter
This is purely personal preference. But, it makes reading easy. Because readers don’t have to think twice about which letter M character they are reading about. It also makes writing easier as I can keep my mind straight when it comes to quick notes I make regarding the book. I can abbreviate my characters names to a single letter in notes and know exactly who I’m talking about.
The names must not be too long
Again, this just makes writing and reading easier and so a better experience for me as the writer and for my readers too.
The name must suit the character
You can’t name a tall, dark, and handsome character Eugene. Just like you can’t name a little girl Mildred or a nerdy teenager Hunter. Your name has to ooze personality. All names ooze personality, but the name you pick for your character has to ooze that specific character’s personality.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little blonde haired, blue eyed girl who danced in the rain and sang with her face angled up towards the sunlight. This little girl had a vivid imagination, would play with the fairies in her garden and sing songs she made up all afternoon long. This little girl’s name was Lilly.
That sounds so much better!