Names are important. There is a big difference between a Tommy and a Guido, an Elizabeth and a Susie and a name can set the tone. I generally write about ordinary people with everyday problems and I want my characters to have ordinary, functional names. I have never used old fashioned names like Titus Hunfrid and Jabez Sloughfinger but I might consider them if I were to write historical fiction. At least they would be memorable.

A nameless character has no character at all. By naming your characters before you begin your novel the person immediately takes on a personality of their own. The right name connects with the reader but if you are too creative it can be a distraction.

Naming characters can be nearly as stressful as naming a newborn. Aim for interesting and memorable names if you’re writing a comedy. You definitely don’t want boring names.

Suppose your novel is set in Victorian era England. the first names you might think of are: George, John, Margaret, Rose, Charles, Samuel, and Edith.

Imagine if your novel is set in colonized Mars circa 2089. You might have Kel, Ambrose, Stone, Finn, or Caris. Because it’s set in a future that no one knows, you have more wiggle room to predict trends.

How to choose a modern name?

Elvis is questionable. Beyonce is pushing it. Adolf is not okay.

You could:

  1. borrow a name from a friend, think of a place, use your computer
  2. think about age
  3. say the name out loud
  4. check the meaning
  5. know the era
  6. look at the number of syllables
  7. match name to geography
  8. consider using initials
  9. rethink the name before deciding

If the name has a pleasing roll and identifies with the character you have aced it.

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“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish. She has mentored many authors and edited their work.” 

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