10 Things To Consider When Naming Characters


Naming your characters is important. They are your creation and you should put some serious thought into the process. Here are 10 things to consider when you’re naming characters.

Three ways to help you choose a name

  1. Does the meaning suit your character’s role?
  2. Is it believable for the time he or she was born?
  3. Does it suit his or her ancestry?

The others

Make a list of your characters’ names.

  • Do they all begin with the same, or a similar sounding, letter of the alphabet? If they do, change them.
  • Do they have a different number of syllables? If they don’t, change them.

Tip: Do not give a secondary or minor character a unisex name. This can cause confusion, and you never want to confuse your reader.

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

by Amanda Patterson

© Amanda Patterson

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This article has 4 comments

  1. Snarkangel

    Ahem. You sometimes want to confuse your reader. If you are confusing your reader, make damn sure it’s on purpose, and make sure they are confused in exactly the way you want.

  2. Amanda Claassens

    I really enjoy and appreciate the valuable hits and guidelines that you share with us. Thank you very much. This was particularly helpful

  3. Writers Write

    Thank you, Amanda.

  4. Becky Black

    I think an important thing to consider is that the name characterises the parents who gave it to the character even more so than the character themselves. Would those people really name their new baby that? And try to imagine them using it followed by “clean your room” or “play nice with your sister”.

    And there’s always the important question – especially for a male character – “would this name have got the character beaten up at school?”

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