When naming your characters there are a few things to consider.
If you write fiction, you’ll find it much easier to write about a character who has the perfect name. So how do you go about choosing the perfect name for each of your characters? Well, consider the following:
1. Where and When Your Story Takes Place. While Tiffany might be a popular girl’s name in the United States and Canada today, you don’t want to name your character Tiffany if your story takes place in the 1700s, no matter what country the character is from or where she lives.
2. The Ethnicity of Your Character. Native American characters will more likely have last names like Red Feather or Standing Bull than the more common Smith or Jones. Whether your characters are Irish, or Mexican, African-American, or Jewish, you’ll need to take their ethnicity into account when naming them. Check name origins before you name your characters.
3. Other Elements of Your Story That Relate to the Character’s Name. Sometimes you’ll have a reason for naming a character. For example, in my story, A Christmas Kiss (one of the stories in the anthology, Sweet Christmas Love), I had a reason that the main character’s name needed to start with the letter “S” – so that played a big part in what I named her.
4. The Temperament, Personality, or Other Characteristics of Your Character. Some names just sound sophisticated, exotic, goofy, or plain. Choose a name that fits your character OR choose a name that is the opposite of your character in some way.
5. Other Characters in the Story. You don’t want too many character names to begin with the same letter, especially if you’ll be writing a story for children. It’s too hard to keep everyone straight if all the names begin with the same letter.
6. Ease of Saying the Name. Even though most people won’t be reading your story out loud, they’ll still be saying each character’s name in their head as they read your story. Have you ever read stories where you couldn’t pronounce the characters’ names so you just glossed over them as you were reading? And as you did, it became more and more difficult to identify with these characters because you couldn’t keep them straight in your head? That’s what usually happens with readers, so it’s a good idea to give your characters names that people can easily pronounce or at least figure out phonetically.
Once you’ve taken all these elements into consideration, if you need help finding the perfect name for your character, try these online resources:
www.census.gov - I’ve used this site when I needed to know popular names for U.S. immigrants in the early 1920s. I looked at the census information for those years and found lots of great names that would work for my characters who came to America during that time.
www.babynames.com - Search for the most popular baby names today and from days past.
www.sheknows.com/baby-names - Find all sorts of popular baby name origins and much more.
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Creative Caravan Club