Some ideas about writing character names

What’s in a name?

Normally, it's not something I think about too much (or am good at remembering). However, since I am currently working on a humorous novella that I’d like to throw on Amazon before the end of the year and I need to create memorable characters, I thought it courteous of me for their sake to think a little bit about how name choice matters.

  • Sex and gender: Names first tell the sex of an individual. Well, sometimes...unless it’s a gender neutral name like Dylan, Maeve, or Rain. 
  • Time stamp: Names also say something about the decade of birth. A Jackie Mullins was born in the 1930s; a Mateo Wilkins was born in the 2000s; and Atticus was born the year hipster.
  • Ethnicity: Names reveal something about ethnicity. Ming-Hoa Huang may be a Chinese character, while Fanish Sinna may be from India. This, of course, doesn't have to be the case. 
  • Personality: I personally don’t like to delve deeply into personality implications, because usually I am just referring to people I know (who aren’t interesting enough to write about ☺ ). But, writers commonly use names to reflect a character's personality. 
  • Sound: A good tip is to listen to names, and think about how it makes you feel. This is usually how I go about choosing a character’s name. If my gut reaction is in line with what I am attempting to create, then I am satisfied. Read more from the Write Practice.

For my novella, I ended up choosing Sebastian Boyne for my protagonist. Why? Something about “Sebastian” made me laugh, and, translated, “Sebastian Boyne” means something close to “holy cow” which is also hu-moo-rous to me. I might change it;I like the name Atticus, too.
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