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.


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Thank You for the Big Ideas!

Firstly, I want to kick off this post with a big thank you to everyone who got in touch with their suggestions on what blog post series they’d like to see on Writerly Bookish Stuff in the future.

I have listened to you all. It’s great to know that some of my previous series received such a great reception.

With that in mind, I shall be holding a picture prompt series and a series about writing a first draft. Both of these series will run in the 2nd half of the year. I’ll let you know more nearer the time

Don’t forget that there is still series two, Character Interviews, to look forward to on Wednesday 10th April. You’ll get to know a little more about my characters over the next ten weeks.


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Character Interviews and Aesthetics

2nd Blog Series of 2019

The second blog series of 2019 is fast approaching (April 10th ). As you can probably guess from the header, this series is all about the characters in my books.

Each week, I’ll interview my character, create a character aesthetic board, and include quotes from the book.

I’m really looking forward to this series as I get to revisit old friends. I hope you enjoy meeting them too.

Depending on what character I’m highlighting that week, the book they feature in will be on sale for 99p until the following week. Sometimes, I’ll throw in a freebie, so keep your eyes peeled!


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

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