Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Character Name Game

The name game. How do I pick the names of my characters? Well it varies. I do, however desire that my characters names have a meaning. So there are steps.

First, build your character profile. This is where you define your character. What they are like, their characteristics, ticks, issues and purpose in your story.

Their motivation. What is it? And why is it?

Some rules I’ve learned. (1) Make the name easy to read and pronounce. Yeah, yeah, I know I didn’t quite get that lesson until my critique partners pointed that out to me. (2) Make the name mean something. (3) Don’t duplicate the beginning letters of main characters. Like if your main character’s name is Sam, don’t make a support character’s name Sarah, it gets confusing for the reader. (4) Make the name fit the story you are telling. For example, don’t come up with a wildly unique name in a contemporary story. It just doesn’t fit.

After you know your character, then go to some of the online ‘baby name’ databases and find the perfect name, with meaning, for your character.

Now, as far as Purgatory Reign goes, here’s the line up of character names and how I came up with them.

Peter Saints (Truth is, the name Peter just came to me, but I wanted him to have a quirky last name that stuck, so in came the ‘Saints’, as you read it, you may get how it fits.)

Kyle (I looked this name up, and actually had another name picked for it but realized that it broke one of my rules above, the name started with a ‘P’ so I didn’t want it to compete with my main character’s name.)

Angel Ramirez (This name also, plays to the character’s role in the book. What this character means to Peter)

Gavin Steele (I totally made this name to play on the core of what this character is creating and using as a weapon against our main character.)

So think of all the characters, within all the books you’ve read, and how their name played a part in making them memorable to you.  That’s how you pick the right name for your story.

No comments: