Toolbox Tuesday: Naming Characters

One of the most difficult parts about writing can be naming characters. There's a lot that a name says about a person. It highlights uniqueness, personality, and so much more. Point is, the names we give characters are very important, so it's a good idea to play around with a few ideas before deciding on a name for a character.

Here are just a few tips for naming characters (more to come in another Toolbox Tuesday):

  • Try to vary the amount of syllables in the characters' names. (Unlike my name, Jelsa Simone Mepsey. Yeah, don't do that.) A mixture of short and long names often makes for a very good character name. For example, Shane Christopher Kerrick sounds much better than Shane John White. A variation of syllables makes a name more interesting, and flows much better.
  • Keep a database of names you like. I've met people before with unique names (such as Gracelyn) and written them down for future use. Sometimes you'll meet people with names that are a little different, but enough different so that it would make for a very good character name. Also, having a database of names you already know you like is much easier than looking through baby name websites and sifting through hundreds of names.
  • Keep a database of last names as well. I especially encourage keeping lists of different last names by ethnicity. I know I personally have a tendency to write a lot of white characters, but I have been trying to diversify my cast, and I encourage other writers to attempt to do the same.
  • Ask other people if the names sound good! Chances are, if a lot of people like the name you gave a character, so will your readers.

That's it for now! So, was this a helpful Toolbox Tuesday? Have tips on naming characters? Please share below!

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