Writing Tip: 5 Questions I Ask When Naming Characters

Picking names for your characters can be a challenge.  I'm not a parent yet, but I can only imagine that it's as difficult as picking a name for your child.  It's a duty that completely depends on you!

I've written quite a few stories in my lifetime (The first one I remember finishing was when I was 12) and in these stories, my characters have had some quite interesting names.  When I reread these old works I stand by some of my naming decisions, but other ones I regret.

Here are 5 questions that I ask myself when naming my characters in current Works in Progress.

1.  Does the name fit?

Different names have different connotations.  Obviously, it depends on how you write the character. But here's an example.  When you hear the name Mildred, who do you imagine?  A child on their first day of kindergarten or an elderly grandmother who likes to play bridge?


2.  Is it even a real name?

Like I said before, my characters have had some weird names in the past.  One time my protagonist was named Gemma.  Is that even a name?  IDK.

3.  Is the name over-saturated in today's world?

Some names are definitely more popular than others!  For instance, after Twilight became such a big hit, a lot of people started naming their daughters Isabella or Bella.  And that's fine.  But maybe you want something less used.

4.  Do I want them to have a nick name?

William can be Bill.  Madeleine can be Maddie.  See what I mean?

5.  Is it too similar to the other character's names?

One time I was working on a WIP and I realized that there were 4 characters that had names starting with A.  Oops!  I had to make some changes so that it didn't seem too repetitive.

Do you have any character naming suggestions?

Yours truly,
Marian Elizabeth
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