A month or so ago, I blogged about the value of day-dreaming. One of the things I do while day-dreaming is to think about names for my characters. Names can give readers an impression of what that person might look like or act like, especially if they know someone by that name. But it’s tricky.
Some of my fellow writers find they keep coming up with names starting with just one letter – Jeremy, Janet, John etc. I have a Megan, Mabel and Muriel in one of mine. Two are minor characters, so it is not as important in this case. They also fit the era. Names are generational. They were popular at one time, then fall out of favour and some, if they are strong names, come back into favour; others just carry on and on and on.
But names are important. They convey a certain something about a character. The name of a child at school you didn’t like or who caused you grief is a name you will associate with bad things. Many readers will automatically assume those bad characteristics belong to all people with that name and continue to dislike it. Have you ever come across someone with the same name as you and you didn’t like them? It’s an odd feeling.
For this reason, authors can spend hours researching a name popular in a certain era, or another country. In England, there are regional differences as well as country differences. Scottish, Irish and Welsh are obvious, but Cornish names are also quite different to Yorkshire names.
My main characters are Daniel, Emma, Charlotte, Megan, Brigid and Gwenna.
Jane will be the main character in my next novel, evolving in my head as I write.
Which of those names is your favourite?
What are your favourite or most hated names?
By Vicky Adin,
Author & book lover.