Do you ever wonder what is in a name, especially when introducing a character? Do you put a lot of effort into creating someone who everyone can relate to or use as an admirable caricature? Oftentimes, the people I find who quickly whip out a character name are also quickly drawn back into the rejection pile. Why? Because the name of the character says it all. Jensen, Opal Bright, Crystal Summers, etc. are not even worth reading because the authors sold their names short. I would understand if you were trying to establish some type of didactic point (e.g. Pilgrim’s Progress and the Faerie Queen); however, these genres are not the same, let alone the historical time periods.
So in effort of helping people with their works, let me start with giving away some key sources for naming your character. First let’s start with an easy one, a place where clueless adults like parents or (in this case myself) go to for ‘helpful hints’: a baby-naming dictionary. I often had a lot of pleasure looking up the names of all the friends I have in school or even the people who are lined up with me on the family tree (yes, there are some odd-balls that are up there, but I am not sure which of the ones I am closely related to).
Although I have used that source for multiple characters, I can tell you that creating a credible character using those names takes a lot of dedication and hard work. Naming that person you keep thinking of in your book needs to have a name that makes sense and rings wells within the listener’s ears. If your character has a name that is not well received or even has something way too long may not pull the reader into thinking your book is worth that much of a read. At most, the readers will start laughing at the lameness of the character’s name and think that the novel’s storyline is completely unrealistic.
At least that’s what I wind up doing whenever someone features a character that sounds completely stupid.