getting names for characters is fun!! cool characters got cool names!
do you remember these names? scarlett o’hara…ebenezer scrooge… hannibal lecter…hansel & gretel…darth vader…harry potter…lassie
how come we remember them? cause their names fit the genre and era & specially fit who they are. & theyre easy to say.
how could we make sure we get cool names?
1. use different first letters for names. dont use larry, lilly, luke and lenny. for sure thats not cool & its confusing
2. dont do a name thats hard to say cause the reader doesnt wanna stop and figure it out or stumble over it every time he sees it. make names rhythmic. exotic & alien & strange names are ok as long as the reader can say it.
3. use only one unusual or exotic name per book
4. names should fit the era and genre and be age appropriate
5. dont use names that sound the same like harry & larry or zack & jack
6. dont use names ending in s cause for possession its hissy sounding
7. dont use alliteration unless its a kids story
8. short one syllable hard consonant names are good for guy names. like dirk, ken, grant, trent
9. two syllable soft consonant names are good for girls. Like gina, sherrie, Jennifer, suzy
10. dont use names thats the same for male & female. terry, lee, kelly
11. use names with meanings if its important to the story
12. nicknames are ok for characters that are close to each other
13. watch out for loaded names. that ones that are associated from books, movies, tv, history, like scarlett, oprah, aldolph and romeo.
14. be open to change. if a names not working for you try another one
where could you get some name help?
1. baby name book for first names and meanings
2. phone books and year books
4. on line name generators
5. on line search for character & pet names
6. from your past and real life
7. atlas for place names (change up some letters for fantasy)
8. your imagination!
want a real neat idea?
keep a name notebook!!! every time you see a cool name write it down and get it into your name notebook. later you could find just the right name for your characters from all the ones you got in that notebook. wow! how cool is that!
how bout you?
how do you get good names for your characters? what could you wanna add on to the lists i did?
…hugs from lenny
where i got the stuff for this post
1. spilling ink – a young writers handbook by anne mazer & ellen potter (it was a neat present from famous author dianne salerni)
2. writing magic – creating stories that fly by gail carson levine
3. on line article: whats in a name? by cynthia van rooy
4. google.com search