Mar 19, 2011

*Names of Characters

By Cindy R. Williams

Let's have some fun with our characters names.

Names of Characters tell the reader tons about who they are. Charles brings the image of an aristocrat, whereas Charlie seems much more approachable and friendly. Katherine is formal and educated. Kate may be adventurous and fun. Robert seems like a grown up and Bobby a young boy. Lupe most likely is from Mexico or Spain, while Ingrid is from Sweden. Madison and Kennedy may have been past USA presidents but are now hip and happening girls names. Clem seems to be a great name for an old cowboy. Clare is a ballerina. Sabrina is a lovely young girl. Ralph could be a trouble maker or a little boy that trouble just seems to follow.

Here are a few more that seem to bring visual images with them:
Aunt Bertha, an elderly aunt,
Aunt Nelly, another elderly aunt
Clyde, an older person,
Natasha, from Russia,
Maureen, from Ireland,
Mary, from anywhere,
Billy Bob, from southern USA,
Starr, Flower, Spring, Pansy, Petals, Bunny; girls named by hippy parents,
Angelique, a girl named by a parent who served a mission in France,
Spencer, Tanner, Hunter, McKay, Nelson, Dallin; often named after a modern day prophet or apostle, but not necessarily connected to them outside LDS circles.

Please share the names of your top three or four characters in one of your projects and tell us why you named them that, or what the name is meant to portray.


  1. Hannah--the same forward and back and her grandmother's, both important for story

    Jaira--alternate future story, I think it sounds sturdy,feminine,unusual.

    Jessica--one of my most favorite names

  2. Nobody did appropriate character names like Charles Dickens! You can't get better than Uriah Heep or Mr. Bumble. But James Arrington isn't too shabby with the names he comes up with for The Farley Family Reunion. I have enjoyed the names I find as I'm doing Family Search Indexing, and with apologies to any of their living relatives who might be offended, here are a few of my favorites: Cleghorn Foote, Greenberry Rowzee, Delaware Hudnall, Emma Lemmon, Getty Quick, Lizzie Blizzard, Mery Grazmus, Earl Furley, Hoover Beecroft, Sumter Heflin, Lena Farina, Minnesota Madison, Dovie Schoolcraft, and Mary Fling Farr. Making up names for the female characters in my Book of Mormon trilogy has become quite a challenge, so I just put syllables together that sound appealing - Merari is a woman who dies young in childbirth. We had a presentation on naming characters in a writers boot camp I'm attending, and the presenter gave us the formula for determining our Star Wars name - first three letters of you last name, plus the first two letters of your first name, plus the first three letters of your mother's maiden name, and the first three letters of the city where you were born. Naming people is one of the most creative challenges of writing fiction. I recently named twins Colin Makai and Fiona Skye.

  3. My main character is Sally. She is a cynical and under her shell sad and lonely.

    My other character for the future is Anne Alexis Jackson. She is called AJ. A solid and athletic person with a strong self esteem.

    Lastly, Clayton Zane is my male. He is not the alpha male but has the attributes for it.

    My alpha male is nick-named Chappo. It moved from Chavez to Pancho to Chappo.

  4. In my fantasy I went for Princess Terrah. It just seemed appropriate because I learned that most people pronounce Tara as tar-ah and I wanted to make sure it was ter-ah. Then I realized that was Abraham's father's name. The Bible is def a great place to get odd names. Let's see then my Star Wars name would be Wag-TE-Sto-Mon giggle.

  5. Thanks Susan, Pam and Terri, Great names, great ideas and suggestions. My new name is,

    Wilcisamsal and I'm married to Wiljekelpho.

    My five children are: Wiltiricsan, Wilasricpro, Willjoriccha, Willhuriccha and Willchricmes. Too fun!

  6. PS - It's also fun to make up Southern Utah names. I named a couple of sisters Relvadeen and Revaleen. You gotta love it!

  7. What a fun and interesting post, Cindy. I have a friend who refused to name her children anything that appeared on the 100 most popular names list. It's interesting that a few of the names she chose are now very popular. star wars name would be PikKaBarSal...or PikKaLawSal...depending on which maiden name my Mom decided to use.


  8. I think the name formula there is worth another blog don't you PikKaBarSal?

  9. Love that Star Wars name formula, Pam. Please, refer to me as Jonwebalrex from now on.

    Fun post, Cindy. I just changed one of my MC's names and it is amazing how much more I like him now.


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