What is your Character's Name

by Dawn Arkin - Date: 2007-01-24 - Word Count: 552 Share This!

Writers want to create memorable stories, with characters readers will relate to and care about. We strive to make our characters come alive and stand out from characters in other stories. One of the things you can do as a writer to make your characters be remembered is to give them a name that will stick in your reader's mind. But how do you do that?

When you are thinking about your character's name, take into consideration what message you want to convey to your reader about them. Don't name your strong, silent hero Dingledoor. Pick a name that shows your character's personality the way you want them to be remembered.

Avoid overly ironic or amusing names, unless that is your story's goal. Try to avoid choosing names that tell too much about your character. Naming your hero Dirk Goodguy is going to make your reader laugh. Not very romantic. But naming your hero Rudolf Mitchell would be a much more romantic name. When choosing your characters name, try to pick names that do not telegraphic your character's deep, dark secrets. Leave a little mystery for the reader to solve.

What time period do your characters live in? Take that into account when choosing the character's names will help your readers identify with them more. While Tameeka may be a wonderful name for a modern character, but it would not work if you are writing a historical romance. To be sure you choose a correct name, a little research will be necessary. There are many web sites devoted to names, and searching one of them will help you find the kinds of names that were popular in the period you are writing about.

Take your character's location into account when choosing their names. Where and when was your character born? Parents tend to name their children based on their culture and neighborhood outlooks. What a child would be named in Chicago is different than a child born in Texas. People in the United States use different spellings of names than people in England or Italy. Location plays a big role in people's names, and it should in your character's names as well.

Unless you are trying to be funny, do not name your characters amusing names. Naming a criminal Sam Shyster is funny, but not if you are trying to make him someone to fear. If you want your hero to be loved, your heroine to be respected and your villain to be feared, give names that will do just that.

Do not name all your characters alike in your story. Naming your heroine Tammy and your hero Sammy might sound like a match made in heaven to you, but not to your reader who will have to try to keep your characters straight while reading. If they have trouble following the story because of the character's names are confusing, they are not going to finish your story.

The most important thing is to pick a name that feels right to you, one that makes you think of your character as a real person. That is the key to making your characters real to your readers.

Characters are one of the keys to writing a wonderful story. Naming your characters with realistic and appropriate names will go a long way to helping your readers care about them, and your story.

Related Tags: writing, fiction, characters, naming, choosing

Dawn Arkin is a freelance author of articles and fiction. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.Facsimile.Com/ which is a site for Fax Machines.

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