Monday, June 9, 2008

What's in a Name?


As a fiction writer, I strive to create compelling, dynamic characters to live and breathe in my stories. It is imperative that my characters are as real as possible to me and to the reader. Of course, this is one of the most difficult challenges we must face as fiction writers -- make the story believable and make the reader want to turn the page.

One aspect of character development -- and there are many -- is choosing a name that fits the character. Finding a name that depicts the time-period, setting, character background, and personality is not always easy, but for me, it's always fun.

I have three different books of first names that I use to help find that perfect fit. I also use the phone book, television and movie credits, and other books, both fiction and non-fiction to help find that unique name for a character.

Here are a few notable fictional characters:

Scarlet O'Hara
Jo March
Christopher Robin
Ebenezer Scrooge
Sonny Corleone
George Bailey
Stephanie Plum
Jessica Rabbit
Oliver Twist

Recognize any of them? :)
They may not have the most unusual name (George Bailey), or maybe they do (Ebenezer Scrooge), but their names fit their characters for their story.

Whether choosing the name for the hero of your book, or the villian, use your imagination (and any other means you can find) to bring your characters and your story to life!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about names for my characters in my new story. I think I'll try some of the places you suggest to find the perfect names. Thanks, Cynthia. ;)