Character Names, Pt 2

A famous writer (I won’t name him) once suggested that J.K. Rowling owed much of her success to her ability to create wonderfully Dickensian character names. While I’m sure he was exaggerating, at the same time he might have been onto something. So since then I’ve been paying more attention to my character names.

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Bottom, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Names are tough though. It’s best to find something that suits your character but perhaps not something that suits them too well or the name can end up looking like a parody. That’s great if you’re writing comedy, maybe not so great if you’re writing something serious.

Memorable names are also advisable as are varied names so characters are easily distinguished from one another. And it’s best to avoid names ending in “s” to bypass the cumbersome apostrophe issue. Beyond that you can pick anything—just as long as you don’t accidentally pick the name of that wealthy doctor living in a neighbouring street and give it to your evil medic. It’s always best to Google before settling on a name–especially the names of your villains.

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3 comments on “Character Names, Pt 2
  1. Akaluv says:

    I agree, memorable names help readers remember the characters.

  2. Wichael says:

    Very cool. Myself these past couple of years when a couple I know are having a baby I write down baby names for them. A few ridiculous odd name or four and hand it to them. Its a good use of creativity.

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