What’s in a name?

Choosing names for characters is one of the most fun things a writer has to do. Sometimes you choose a name that conveys the essence of a character (I remember reading an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest contender wherein the heroine had the awesome name Peril).

In my “Junior Justice of the Peace Chronicles” short story series, the two main characters are Henry and Richard. The name choices are tied to the time period; Henry VII defeated Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth Field, and Henry is King of England at the time the stories take place. I’m hoping to tie in the personalities of the boys to their kingly namesakes.

So how do you choose names for your characters?

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4 Responses to What’s in a name?

  1. Anita Howard says:

    Hi Ann! You found me on Twitter and I wanted to drop over and see your blog! Very nice. Hmm. So how do I choose names? Well, it kind of varies. Sometimes, I just go online and look through tons of names until something “speaks” to me. Honestly, there’s kind of this vibe thing I get when I know I’ve found the right one.

    Other times, the names need to tie into the story somehow. Like the MS my agent is shopping right now is a YA Alice in Wonderland spinoff. I chose the main character’s name to be Alyssa, because she’s decended from Alice Liddell, the real life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s story. Needed her name to be similar to Alice, yet different enough to be unique to her.

    BTW, congrats on Echelon Press! That’s awesome! See you around twitterland. 😉

    • annikay says:

      Hi Anita! So glad you dropped by!

      Names are fun :). I love how you chose the name of your MC in “Splintered”-can’t wait to see it on the shelves! And thanks so much for the ‘grats! Looking forward to “tweeting” with you (gotta love these new additions to the lexicon!)

  2. Jet says:

    If it’s a side character I generally go on baby name websites until I find something that sounds right. If I need a name for main characters then I either take from similar historical figures/celebrities/people of note. Or I find names that relate to a particular personality trait.

    Or in true geek fashion I use language relating to a character trait. I have a werewolf called Rishavel – Risha’vel is ‘half breed’ in Vulcan.

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