How to Name Your Fictional Character
I’ve recently finished writing the sequel to my last YA supernatural novel, Oath Breaker, and hope to release book two (Oath Keeper) next spring.
With any follow-on book the hard work of naming your characters has been covered when you outlined your idea for book one. However, like any good story, it’s nice to add a few new faces to keep the storyline fresh and the characters on their toes.
I have the name of my main characters in my head long before I start to write. They have been forming, evolving, talking to me, and becoming three dimensional for a while, so I feel like they are part of my family. Secondary characters tend to trickle in over time as I begin to plan.
In Oath Keeper I have a new secondary character who adds a little light relief to the story. She’s ten years old, a feisty, loyal, and friendly little girl who wants to be in the heart of the action despite her young age. I loved writing this character, but the name I’d given her didn’t feel right.
What do you do when you need to find a character name? Do you turn to the baby name book, or run your eye over the book spines on your shelf searching for inspiration? Perhaps you’re organised for such eventualities and have a document saved on your computer with possible name selections ready to use.
I opted to involve my YA Facebook followers. I started the Fantasy Author SL Wilson Facebook page quite a few years ago and continue to be blown away by the level of interaction from my page followers. These guys are great fun and always ready with a gif, photo, funny comment, or help if I need it.
I uploaded an image for inspiration and gave a brief description of the character, I then asked my followers for some help. As always, they overwhelmed me with their response.
What I love most about involving my readers is how passionate they are about the story. I didn’t just get a few name suggestions, I received well thought out ideas with explanations as to why their name choice would suit my story. They also shared beautiful and personal tales about girls in their family, or friendship groups, who fit the profile of my character.
Was it helpful? Yes, but it was also humbling to have so many people getting involved and being a part of the next adventure.
I’m always telling my page followers how awesome they are and would urge any author to fully engage with their audience on whatever platform works best for them. If you’d like to get involved in my FB page for lots of fun and fantasy, then please do feel free to join us HERE.
So, did I find an appropriate name? Yes, I did. Thanks to Jennalyn I chose to use her beautiful daughter’s name, Arianna (Ari for short) and loved how well it fit my little character.
If you’re struggling to find an appropriate name for your character then make sure to engage your audience. They are so invested in your books they will get it spot on. If that doesn’t work I’ve added the impressive list my fantabulous fans shared below, so please feel free to use their ideas.
I’d love to hear how you come up with character names if you are a writer. Or, as a reader, do you find it easy to connect with characters through their names?
Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here: Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest