First of all, there have been a lot of things going on in my life recently including my move to London so that’s why I haven’t been as active lately. Second of all, it’s National Novel Writing Month in a few days! For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s where you are challenged to write fifty thousand words in the month of November. To all my readers who are taking part, good luck! To help you, I’ve written this post about giving your character a name.
You may already have your plot and setting but are stuck on what to name your characters. Some people don’t think names are important and some put a lot of research into it. I personally think it’s quite important and it’s usually the first thing I’ll a give a character.
Sometimes, I’ll already have one in mind but sometimes I’ll have to put in more thought. Here are the ways I’ll usually go about it.
1) Give them a unique name
This has a lot of potential to go wrong since in YA, it’s a popular trend to give characters really cringey names like “River Lily” or “Fressia”. A character’s name can sometimes reflect their personality.
For example, when you think of the name Amy you think of someone who’s boring and similar things like that. Someone called Rainbow would be seen as eccentric and fun. Someone called Nova would be seen as cool and give off a “bad girl” vibe. Naming your character something that has the opposite connotations of their personality will make you seem silly unless you’re going for irony (a good example of this Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men).
2) Name them like a parent
Think like you’re having a child in the year your character was born.
A parent in 1996 wouldn’t be thinking of naming their child Destiny Hope or Tatum (unless they’re hippies or something).
So make sure your name is time period appropriate. If your story is set in the future, try and think of a futuristic sounding name but don’t make it too “out there” or risk sounding ridiculous.
3) Give them a name with meaning
If done right it can work really well. This is epsecially common in fantasy books where symbolism is quite heavy. For example, your character could be called Saoirse which means “freedom” because she’s the one to free the people from the evil dragon’s tyranny.
In the end, it doesn’t matter too much what you name your characters. Just focus and creating realistic and relatable characters.
Want some more advice? Tell me in the comments what writing advice you’d like me to give next or tweet me @abookwormsguide
Tomi is a book lover and the blogger behind A Bookworm’s Guide to Life which is a space for avid readers, creatives and all-round cool kids.