Mary Deal Writes about “Naming Characters” in her Latest Article on the Child Finder Trilogy

Naming Characters

by

Mary Deal

When naming your characters, the moniker you give them should agree with the role they play in the story.

Think about some of the Classics you adore, or even recent releases. You probably not only love the stories, but the character names as well.

When it comes to naming your characters, try not to make up names that are too far-fetched. In other words…

A writer-friend wanted to name all her characters with names she devised in order to help make them different from every character in other books with similar names. She came up with names like Tracford, to be nicknamed Trac. Or Analoon, nicknamed Loony because her (character) mother knew at birth she would be a little zany.

When I asked her how she expected her readers to feel any empathy for these characters, she said she would explain in the story how the person got their name.

This is not a great thing to do. Whether you write two or twenty books, you might get away with describing what’s behind a strange name once, but twice or more? And in each book too? It just won’t fly. If you are the type of writer with an old-fashioned story telling bent, then you might describe all your characters personalities and their names, like an old geezer spinning a yarn. But no one really writes like that anymore.

Readers must feel a connection with story characters. Names can attract or repulse. If you want your lady character to be loved, don’t make her loveable but give her a name like Analoon and call her Loony. And here’s something that can backfire. If you have a silly nonsensical lady in your story and name her Analoon and call her Loony, it comes across as entirely unbelievable and contrived by the writer. Naming characters is vitally important.

My suggestion is to get a name source dictionary, one that defines what each name means. Find the right sound in a name and the meaning for each character you create. You will be more than safe and you as an author will viewed as serious about your craft.

Please visit Mary Deal’s website for more wonderful articles like this one: Write Any Genre.

About Mike Angley

Mike Angley is the award-winning author of the Child Finder Trilogy. He retired as a Colonel from the Air Force in 2007 following a 25-year career as a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). He held 13 different assignments throughout the world, among which were five tours as a Commander of various units, to include two Air Force Squadrons and a Wing. He is a seasoned criminal investigator and a counterintelligence and counterterrorism specialist. In his last assignment, he was Commander of OSI Region 8 with responsibility for all of Air Force Space Command. He’s fond of saying, “If it entered or exited Earth’s atmosphere, I had a dog in the fight!”
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