Saturday, January 23, 2010

Aspiring Advice: What's in a Name?

Fridays off make it difficult for me to stay on task and write this column on time. My apologies if you logged in and found no Aspiring Advice yesterday. I'll make this short, since I have a lot of errands on my plate that I need to chew on.

I ask you, what's in a name? Or rather, what's it to you what your character's name is? Believe it or not, your character names are more important than you realize. If you use characters who interact with our present day world, names like John, Mary, David and Emily are suitable and fairly common. But is that the best name for your character? Psychologically, names play a part in a character's development, behavior, and personality. It may be to your benefit to research what the name means and try to apply those characteristics to your character. This can be done online through a name-meaning search. For me, I'm not a fan of names that are used way to often, (John), but if you throw in an awesome last name that compliments it (John Conner) then all's well.

If you're making up your own name for a fantasy or science fiction story, I have an extra word of advise. You may want to create names that are easily pronounced. Most people and readers are not linguistic experts. Say that your character is named Oririaul. Did you have to read that a few times to make it sound sensible in your head? What about Orial (Or-e-al) instead? Was that easier? If the reader has to struggle to pronounce your character names every time they read them, or they have to skip over them for the sake of sanity, then you may want to tone them down. Your reader will relate and identify with your characters more easily and maybe connect with them better. The possibilities are endless, but long/over-the-top names are unnecessary and a potential turnoff, and it doesn't make your fantasy story sound any more fantastic.

Something for you to think about over the weekend. Thanks for reading. Until next time.

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