Monday, March 11, 2013


Have you ever met a Mildred, Gertrude, Bertha, Elmer, Oscar or Herbert?

You might have if you lived in the 1800's! Today, not so likely.

I have two trusty tools for finding names for my characters:

1. a book called 2001 Names for Baby for characters in contemporary novels 

2. Google search for characters in historical novels (just enter "popular names" and the year.)

Names make an impression on the reader so it pays off to give them some thought. A boy called Hugh is going to make a different impression than a boy called Butch! Can you picture Esmeralda? Mimi? Jane?

How about Zero in Louis Sacher's book Holes!

Names can be useful to show ethnic background. Can you guess where Arshad, Chandrakin, Meiling, Huong and Aleksei come from?

The meanings of names can also be a lot of fun to explore. How about naming your character Dustin which means "brave warrior" or Davina which means "loved one.

I had a lot of fun choosing names for hippies in two of my books, The Way Home and If Only, and came up with Meadow, Harmony, Summer, Coyote and River!

Nicknames can tell you a lot about how one character feels about another. A mother who calls her daughter Pickle . . .  a father who calls his son Champ. 

Be careful with names that sound alike - Jane, Janet and Janice in one story will having your reader tearing his hair out!

What's in a name? Lots!

Some advice from Elizabeth George in Write Away . . .

The name I choose cannot be arbitrary. It's the first of the tools I can use in revealing who and what my creation is.


The Underneath by Kathi Appel (Newbery Honor Book)  

This is the story of a wonderful heart warming friendship between a hound and a family of cats. It is an absolute page turner!


What if . . . the fireplace in your house was a portal to another world. Would you dare to crawl inside? What would happen to you?

Next week:  Tantalizing Titles


No comments:

Post a Comment