How to Create Effective Character Names

Jed Herne: Writer

Names are an important part of all good characters. Names can be brave, funny, or menacing, and are an essential part of character creation. Personally, I always need a name for my characters before I can flesh them out, and that’s why today’s post will provide guidelines for crafting memorable, powerful and effective character names.

Consider Character Traits:

Is your character a tad meek, and maybe a little hopeless? If so, name them Neville Longbottom!

Is your character a tough, competant, I’ll-do-it-alone kinda guy? If so, call them Han Solo!

A character’s name is a reader’s first experience of that character. Thus, it makes sense to use names to reflect a character’s personality.

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2 thoughts on “How to Create Effective Character Names

  1. I usually focus on the derivation of the name (what did it originally mean). In the case of Hearts in the Storm, I selected Brody for the name of the undervalued, younger son. The name’s origin is mixed. It may have originally meant muddy ditch or could have come from a word that means brother. They both work for a character who plays second fiddle to his older brother Beau (short for Beauregard – meaning respected or highly regarded). Now, the main character’s nickname is less subltle – Duck. I wanted a nickname that at first would raise cartoonish images (Donald Duck, Daffy, Duck) and would later speak to competence on the water because that was the journey I wanted the reader to take. I wanted them, in the beginning, to see him as unreliable and cartoonish as Trista does. Then after Jimbo explains how he got his nickname, we slowly begin to see him as the man he really is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just understanding the name brings a richness to the story!

      I must confess Hearts in the Storm has been sitting unread on my Kindle for far too long. Must change that! 😉

      Thanks for stopping and commenting!


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