On Writing, Random Thoughts

Q&A With A Wordsmith: Choosing Character Names

Heya Lovelies,

As a writer taking a rather unique path, I often receive a wide range of questions. So far, I’ve covered some broad topics which you can find here and I’ll continue to shed some light on further questions. With luck, you’ll gain some understanding and insight along the way.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer, feel free to comment or drop me an email.


Question:
How do you decide on character names in your books?

Answer:

For some of the characters in my series, I chose their names with care. For others, not so much. 

Connor, for instance was chosen with care. If you look up his name’s definition, you’ll see that it is an anglicized Irish word that means lover of wolves. In the books, Connor’s best friend is a white werewolf named Shadow (also not a coincidence). 

Conversely, Liam, although it is an Irish name (a nod to his mother’s nationality), was named this because of its meaning — a strong-willed warrior and protector. 

Now, does this mean you need to name your characters something with meaning? No. But if you’re stuck and not sure, it doesn’t help to browse meanings and attach something with a bit of significance to who they are. 

Not all of my characters come with names of significance. I’ll admit, I wanted a somewhat unique name for my first heroine, and I just happened to really like the name Aisling. On the other hand, Angela was named after an old friend. Her mannerisms and endearing qualities, like the screeching when she’s upset, was based on this friend and I wanted to honor that. 

There’s no right or wrong way to name your characters, just go with what feels right and you can’t go wrong.


Coming up, I’ll talk about which of my characters relates the most to me.

Until next time,
Sarah

P. S. If you want to see for yourself what books I have to offer, find your FREE copies at your favorite retailer

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6 thoughts on “Q&A With A Wordsmith: Choosing Character Names”

  1. Some of them come to, some I look for from this surname list and this first name. I let characters who don’t know who they are try on names. Elmore Leonard claimed to have a character for over a hundred pages or so that wouldn’t talk. Gave him a name change and he came to life. Here’s a classic example. In the manuscript for “A Christmas Carol” Tiny Tim started out being Tiny Fred. Nice catch by Dickens. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very right, my friend. The names need to suit who the characters are. If they don’t, the whole thing could fall flat. One of the best lessons I’ve ever learned was making decisions that fell inevitable. For instance, choosing a setting needs to be the only setting that will fit the story. Like the reader needs a sense of knowing everything belongs as it is written. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think most of my character names are floating around in my subconscious, picked up from new stories or real people who’s names I’ve come across in the past, just waiting to be affixed to a character when the time is right

    Liked by 1 person

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