first draft

First Draft: Naming Characters

Welcome back to the second instalment of my First Draft series. Today, I’ll be chatting about my process for naming characters…

Finding a name that is a good fit for my character is important to me. It’s like a part of their personality. We do have preconceptions in regards to names and first impressions can prove important.

In guest posts and other blog posts, I have stated eight points I think about when naming characters, and I will share them with you today:

Gut instinct: Does a name feel right? Your gut should be listened to. A name has to feel right to you. It’s your creation, after all.

Weird spellings: Unless you’re planning to include a page on name prenounciation in your book, I’d steer clear from names that the readers may not be able to pronounce.

Google it: Quickly check your name combinations via Google. You don’t want to use the name of a character from another book or a politician etc.

Age appropriate: Be aware of what names are suitable for your story, especially for different time periods. For example, if your narrative is set in the Victorian era, you wouldn’t find a Jayden.

Meanings: You could be quite literal with name meanings and name your character purely because the name meaning fits their personality. This is not the route for me, but I will check that a name doesn’t have a negative meaning I might not be aware of.

Preconceptions: This links into the above point. There are names that have a stereotype attached to them. For example, the name Jezebel is most commonly thought of as a harlet. It probably wouldn’t be a good fit for your godfearing, righteous type of character. Unless, of course, you’re being ironic.

No to samey samey: By samey samey, I mean similar to the point it might be confusing. Similar sounding names such as Lara or Laura may prove tricky. Also if you have a character called James, it may be best not to call another character a variant of that name such as Jaime.

Listen and look: This is my most tried and tested way to find names. I listen to snippets of conversation, search the credits at the end of films, I even read gravestones. I love discovering a gem of a name.

I hope my eight points may be of some help to you when naming your own characters.

Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

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