• Brittany J. Vincent

What's in a Name?

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

Choosing a name for your character is in many ways like naming your own child. There is a lot of thought and consideration that goes into the process. It not only has to suit the character but also the theme of your story. Here are a several aspects to consider throughout the naming process:

Lineage

· Does the character come from a certain family or ancestral line?

· What is the etymology of the first name or surname?

· Does the city, town, or country of origin affect it?

· Do the character’s family ties require s/he to have an alias?

Symbolism

· Does the character’s name represent a personality trait or a personal story?

· What is the meaning behind it?

· What message are you trying to convey to the reader with it? Is it meant to be a clue or a ruse?

· Does the character represent or pay homage to someone you know in real life?

Popularity

· Should the name be common or unique (depending on the culture, region, family, etc.)?

· What does its popularity or lack thereof signify?

· What are the different spellings or pronunciations?

Nickname

· Is the name shortened?

· Is it totally different from the character’s formal name?

· Does it relate to some other type of meaning or a personality trait?

· Who came up with it, and what was their motivation?


Myths

· Do you want to pay homage to a mythical story, element, or legend?

· Is the character based off of a particular lore?

· How similar should the name be to your inspiration?

Chance

· Is it coincidence, or is it fate? If you want to be a little unconventional and take a chance, use a name generator or scroll through a book of baby names. You might land on a name that clicks.


How have you come up with character names? Share your suggestions in the comments!


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