What’s in a name, you say? A lot! A name says plenty about a person—in real life, as well as fiction. When I read a book, the name of the characters have to match their personality, along with the time period for which the story is taking place. I mean, how many Marthas do you find in a sci-fi story or Jimmy Bobs in a medieval tale? Names are a very important part of the narrative that a writer is trying to convey. They help give the reader an image.
Maybe the character’s name reminds you of someone you know or once knew? Maybe you have read other pieces of work that have used the name before? Maybe the name belongs to a famous person? For whatever reason, the name biases you into believing what the character looks like and what kind of traits they may possess.
Unfortunately, for me, I believe in this madness. I am currently working on a novel and I have changed my female main character’s name four times…and I AM working on the fifth. I have never done this before in all of my writing days. Usually, my main characters’ names are picked well in advance of writing, and I followed that same ritual this time also. But somehow, during the writing process, my gut starts twisting and I can’t bring myself to commit to the current name. My character is a diva that is complicated, edgy and in search of her sexual being. Her name needs to be different, but not over the top. Hopefully, the fifth time will be a charm.
So, do you have a favorite character, male or female, whose name “describes” their personality to a tee? Or maybe you have read a recent book that you absolutely hated the main character’s name? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts. Loved to hear from you.