Saturday, April 17, 2021

Ho Do You Choose Your Characters' Names? Are There Names You Avoid? by Connie Vines RR#83 #WritingTIps

This month's topic: 

How do you choose your characters' names? 

Are there any you avoid?

Character names are one of most important decisions I make when I begin a story.  Names have meaning and often set the tone of a novel. People have pre-conceived ideas of how a hero named 'Sam' should look/act verses a 'hero named Kaleb', for example.

I give one of my main characters a unique name which defines his/her personality or hint's at his/her background.

For example: In Rodeo Romance Book 1, featured a hero named: Lynx Maddox. Lynx is a bull-rider and dubbed 'the Wild Cat of the Rodeo Circuit'.  

Rodeo Romance Book 2, brought us: Brede (pronounced Breed) Kristensen is a widowed rancher.

My current release: Gumbo Ya Ya: an anthology for women who like romance Cajun style has a cast of characters in the four stories. Because each story features a Cajun hero/heroine, one will have a Cajun last name. 

Story One: Murphy Flynn and Sylvie Dupree.
Story Two: Persia Richmond and Cooper T. 
Story Three: Julia Kincade and Sebastian Beaux  
Story Four:  Enza and Gabriel

In my WIP my hero's name is Sam.  

Sam is a straightforward and down-to-earth guy--just as the meaning of his name implies.

A name is an easy way to define a character.  No long narrative needed. The reader knows Sam isn't  into flashy fashion or throwing away his savings on a whim.

 If your character is born in July: 
The flower: Larkspur (Lark) or Water Lily 
Gemstone: Ruby    
Astrological Sign: Leo/ Lenora

Are there names I avoid?

Yes, I try not to have characters in a novel with similar names, or names beginning with the same letter.  

I do not like phonically spelled names: Kaleb, Danyella, Jakob, etc. this person is going to spell his/her name continually and I predict errors on legal documents too.  And in my case, however, I find it unwanted distraction when reading a novel. 

How do you feel about character's names?
Do you have favorites?

See what the wonderfully talented authors of 'Round Robin' have to share with you today :-) 

Happy Reading!


Diane Bator

Anne Stenhouse

Victoria Chatham

Beverley Bateman

Helena Fairfax

Dr. Bob Rich

Marci Baun

Judith Copek

Fiona McGier

Rhobin L Courtright


  1. Naming is hard, and you are right about the reader already having preconceived notions about names of characters! I liked all of your character names.

  2. Having read Lynx and Brede I can testify to the names suiting the characters to a T.

  3. I like you character names and how you pick them.

  4. Character names are very important. I have a heroine in one of my WIPs whose name is Samantha. She is somewhat sassy but also insecure. I have a first cousin once removed named Samantha. She's funny, smart, and sassy. I started the WIP long before she grew up. Funny thing is that the hero's name is Jason. In real life, Jason is Samantha's uncle. So, yeah, I think I might change at least one name (probably Jason's). Honestly, I haven't seen Jason in years. We were never that close. When I started writing the story, Jason was a popular hero name. Ha! I didn't even think about this until now. Okay.

    Search and replace is my friend. LOL

  5. I don't think about how readers might have pre-conceived notions about names. If I did, I don't think I could ever name my characters! I usually let them "tell" me their names. Or I go to an ethnic list for their nationality. And I've been "told" by characters when I name them "wrong." LOL.

  6. Hi Connie, Good point about phonetic spelling. Goodness, I often have to say whether I'm anne with an e. Do agree it's an important issue, too. Anne (with an e)


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