What’s in a Name?

Look at this list of names:

Mary Maxwell

Julius Cromwell

Hector Williams

Lucinda Smith

Do they mean anything to you? Probably not, unless you happen to have some random connection to them such as you happen to have an aunt named Lucinda. Truth is, they don’t mean anything to me, either. I just made them up. (With apologies to the many people named Mary Maxwell, et al on Facebook.)

But what if the same names appeared on your church prayer list?

Or they were the names of people you were slated to work with at your new job?

Or, they are characters in a book?

Do you want to read about these characters? If so, in what type of novel?

Where do you think you would find these characters:

Alexa Artichoke

Madison Moneywell

Dominic Avenger

Ruby Sapphira

Obedience Oswald

Winter Skye

None of the above character names are particularly traditional of course. If you give your characters names that aren’t traditional, I suggest offering an interesting backstory for the reader to give the character dimension.

I don’t recommend an odd spelling (such as Jyl for Jill) because it can throw off the reader for no good reason. Also, complex names are likely to hamper rather than to enhance the reader’s pleasure. If your reader wants to learn about Antoninusdiadumenianus, there are plenty of history books to peruse.

Most of all, have fun. And be sure your readers do, too.

Your turn:

What is your favorite character naming resource?

What are your character names in your WIP?

What is your favorite character name of all time?

If the sky were the limit, what would you name your character?


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