#WritingWednesday · Illusion

Naming Characters

Hi everyone!
Happy Wednesday! We’re halfway through another week, which means I get to talk about writing.

Many people have different thoughts on what should be the most important part of a story. There are many factors that must come together in order to achieve a successful book, series, short story, etc.

I would like to focus on one aspect that I find extremely important: characters.

Characters make the story; without them, there would be no plot to develop. The characters are what the readers fall in love with. I know as a reader I have often rooted for the underdog, cried alongside a heart-broken character, and laughed at inside jokes between characters.

The readers become a part of the word your story creates (at least for a little while.) If your book is well written, it makes the reader feel like they truly are your protagonist, and they get to escape into that character’s being. They can feel their feelings and think their thoughts. They become enthralled in this person you’ve constructed out of words.

So basically, to me, the character makes the story really come to life.

I also feel that how a writer names their character can have a great impact on that character’s personality and, furthermore, on the story’s plot. For example, there are a lot of common names our there. I personally prefer unique names, but there’s nothing wrong with a pretty, common/simple name. I’m sure you’ve heard of the expression “Plain Jane”. Well I was recently working on a piece and a friend of mine commented on the name I had chosen for my main character. She said the name Jane made the girl seem like a dry character. I, however,  found the name Jane to be very sweet and pretty, so I stuck with it, I also was picturing her on the quieter, simpler, girly side, and I thought the name brought that out.

Another connotation to names would be naming a character Ruby and having readers automatically envision her as a red-head.

So I really like to think about how I describe my character and find a name that suits that. I generally try to wait until a name really sticks with me before I get too set on it. Like for Illusion, I instantly knew what name I wanted to use for the guy in my story: however, coming up with my main character’s name took a while to think of the perfect one. (*Keep reading to find out what it is!)

One trick I can share is that I keep an idea notebook. In that, I have an entire page devoted to names. When I meet someone new or just hear about someone with a name I like, I write it down. When I used it, I cross if off my list so none of my work has repeat names.

Other times I think of a word that comes to mind when thinking about that character and find a name with that meaning. For instance, if I think of the word “strength”, I’d look up names with that meaning.

What’s your character naming process? Do names just come to you or are they based off of people in your day-to-day life? Do you use names that fit the person’s personality or physical traits? Let me know!

Speaking of names of characters here is a list of some characters in my upcoming novel, Illusion:

My main character, a unique teenage girl whose name I feel really captures all that she is: Addison Smith, or as her friends call her “Addie” or “Ad”.  She can be quiet at times but not around those closest to her.

Addie’s love interest and the new boy at school: Zachary (Zach) Walker. He’s mysterious and gorgeous, what more could a girl ask for?

Addie’s best friend: Cammie. She’s hilarious, outgoing, bold, and brings out the best in Addison.

I, however, cannot reveal the name of the antagonist of my story. I will tell you though, that throughout the story Addison refers to this haunting person as It, as their face is constantly covered, and she knows nothing about them, except the fact he/she is out to get her. It’s name is revealed within the story.

Thanks guys! You have all been so supportive and I can’t wait to share more about Illusion with you all.

Email me or tweet me @NadetteRae with any topics you’d like me to discuss on a future Writing Wednesday post.

~Nadette

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