Guest Blogged at Read 2 Review- chatting about Characters and their names

Acutaly link:

and for quick reading:

I love getting a new book and falling in love with the story. When an author is able to pull me in so deep I can’t stop reading, or thinking about the plot line or what’s going to happen. How about when you want to jump up and down and scream at the characters?

Speaking of characters, when we’re laughing or screaming at them (in our heads or aloud) one thing that matters, even when we don’t realize it, is that these guys need to have good names. Good, proper names which roll off the tongue smooth as butter.

What does it take to have power behind a name?

For myself as a writer, I want something that sounds good together – the first and last name so if someone were really mad, saying the entire name has some kick behind it.

The name has to match the characters personality… hmmm… or is that the personality has to make the character’s name?

There are also a few basic background need-to-knows. If the character is Irish, giving him (or her) a German name isn’t going to be smooth (like butter, it’ll be more like butter mixed with gravel – bumpy and not good on the tongue). Klaus VanLictenstien just doesn’t have an Irish ring like Kian McDowell.

Another writing hint I’ve been taught is to not have characters with similar names and another suggestion I’ve tried to follow is not having characters names that start with the same letter. It sounds a tad silly but really it does help readers avoid any confusion.

I’m going to use my first book in the Chronicles of Kerrigan as an example. There are a lot of characters throughout but some key names needed to stand out.

The main character, Rae Kerrigan, had her name decided before I even started the book. I had the title and name already picked out. I have a friend with a similar name with Irish background. I loved it as it had such a wonderful ring to it – the first and last name. Well, I changed it up a bit to make it Scottish. It rolls off the tongue (say it with me now, smooth as butter) .

I got lucky with her name and her character was based on her name. She became the muse that created my entire storyline. Her friends, teachers, acquaintances were a bit harder.

Molly, Rae’s best buddy name came next. The name alone seems to represent fun and a little bit of trouble (maybe it’s from watching Molly Ringwald as a kid in all her teen movies).

Devon Wardell came along and I also originally had Dean Cardel. Except the two names sounded too similar so Cardell became Cartel and blurred into Carter (though in my drafts, I still sometimes write Cardel).

Julian, Devon’s buddy, has an artistic side, so to me he needed a name that had the same appeal.

And the character names going on and on… some are named based on the character, others became the characters based on their names.

I’d love to hear other writers (and readers) opinions on what makes a name strong. Where the power is behind a name, and how you create your characters name.

‘Cause in the end, a name is just a name that’s just a name, that’s in a name.

Can I let you in on a little secret? I’m terrible at remembering people’s names


Please click HERE for a full list of WJ May’s books and links to buy from and

~ by wanitajump on May 14, 2012.

2 Responses to “Guest Blogged at Read 2 Review- chatting about Characters and their names”

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