Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Character Names

People, especially people who don't read as often as us bibliophiles, can have the weirdest preferences on this topic. One of my friends won't buy a book unless she likes the name. And she's very picky. The only way to buy a book for her and be guaranteed she'll like it is if it's an Irish story. And while I'm sure there's a nice big pool of that out there, it does make it difficult to buy her books.

I was telling another friend about Balancing Act a couple days ago, and told her the main character names (Callie, Ty, Scott, Jen). She said she liked them because they didn't end with the same sounds (Ben, Jen, Wren). I had hardly thought about this, but it makes sense. I subconsciously try not to use names that sound too similar, and oftentimes this relies on the ending of the name. It makes it seem a little less like a picture book that way, where things have to rhyme, or at least have rhythm.

Do you have any name quirks? What are they?


  1. Usually when I name characters I make a conscious efforts to pick ones that don't start with the same letter. Or I've noticed sometimes I pick one and start thinking of another name that starts with the same letter the last one ended with. The rhyming thing I haven't had a problem with, but I can see where your friend doesn't like that. I'll leave the rhyming to Dr. Seuss. :D

  2. Names are fun. And for us fantasy people, fun to invent. The trick is coming up with unique names that are pronounceable. It's hard to connect with someone when you skip their name.

    Glad I stumbled onto your blog! :)

  3. I find that there are certain name sounds that I gravitate towards, and so, I must watch and be careful that I don't name all my characters with similar sounding names, because I like those sorts of names.

  4. I'm like M.E. in that I try to be careful to avoid picking names that start with the same sound. I'm particularly bad with hard C/K sounds, which I seem to gravitate to for some reason. I do find my characters often go through name changes partway through a MS as I realize some reason why a name doesn't work; sometimes it's because the first time two characters appear in a scene together I suddenly realize how similar their names are.

    Something else I'll take into consideration is if I'm seeing something in published books I'm reading. In the MS of mine you have the brother started out named Finn, and then I read two books in close succession with a character named Finn so I renamed him to Leo.

  5. Thank you so much, everyone, for your comments here! It's very interesting to see all the different perspectives/preferences on names :)