Character Names

Just a bit of warning…I’m probably going to go on a bit of a rant here. So, FYI. My thoughts here are just that…my thoughts. Take them with a grain of salt. This is just how I feel about the subject and nothing more. I have the distinct feeling that some people may not like what I have to say, and if not…I’m sorry. I’m certainly no expert on anything, but it’s my blog so I figured “what the heck.” Here goes.

First off, character names are a VERY important part of your character. Unless you want people to not take your character seriously, you have to have a name that doesn’t sound stupid. Now I know a lot of you out there are fans of the Hunger Games books/movies, but I wanted to cite that series as a prime example. The name Katniss Everdeen has always bugged the crap out of me. I hate that name and most of the characters in that series have equally stupid names. I mean, come on…there’s a guy named Peeta for crying out loud. I know they wanted to be original, but I think they went the wrong direction. Seriously, would you have taken Captain James T. Kirk even remotely seriously if his name had been something like Captain Marvin P. Snorkel.

So be careful when you name your characters. Say the name out loud a few times…see how it rolls off the tongue. After all, a memorable name is important, but you want it to be memorable for the right reasons. A strong sounding name will make your hero/heroine character sound believable. A goofy name will give the wrong impression…unless a humorous twist is what you were going for. I can see a use for a good ironic twist, if done right. It might make an interesting character bit.

Next, decide what your character’s background is when you name them. For example, if your main character is of Italian ancestry, you might not want to name him something Polish or Russian. Do your background work on it. Google will find you a wealth of information on regional names. Find the right one for your character. Don’t fall into the trap of just tossing in a name as filler, and then forgetting to fix it later. Microsoft Word’s Find and Replace feature is a good tool to use for that.

Finally, there is the method of finding a good name then building a character around it. I’ve done that, myself. Thinking of a badass name is great, but make sure the backstory for the character fits the name. Again, do your research before you commit. It will save you a lot of headache in the future.

So, if you plan to create your awesome character for you writing…put as much effort into the name as you did in creating the character’s personality. It will pay off, big time. Don’t make your readers wonder what the heck were you thinking when you created a cool character and gave them a stupid name.

Again, a bit of a rant…but I hope there was something in it that you find useful. No offense to the fans of the Hunger Games or anything…that’s just one series that the names really bugged the crap out of me and really detracted from me liking the books To me, it’s the little details that make the story really come to life. Without the little things being right, the big things have no foundation to stand on. All the pieces of the puzzle must fit together if you want to see the entire picture.

End of Rant


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