Thursday, June 24, 2010

Naming Fictional Characters

Much thought must go into finding just the right name for a fictional character. Naming a character is like naming the new baby.

Names are more important than one might think. An ideal name will fit a character like a shoe fits a foot, a wrong name is like an off-note on the music scale. What if Scarlet O’Hara had been called Myrtle O’Hara, or Huckleberry Finn had been called Strawberry Jones? Names carry with them a specific history and connotations about a character’s personality.

Read more at Suite101: Naming Fictional Characters: Finding the Best First Name and Surname for your Characters

I'm working on a piece of fiction in which all the characters have one syllable names and no surnames. It is about the first people on Earth who I call the Firstlings. I wouldn't have guessed the challenge of coming up with meaningful one-syllable names!


poetreader said...

One of the best treatments of how much a name can effect a personality is the humorous Johnny Cash song, "A Boy Named Sue". Many show business personalities have changed their names to fit who they wanted to be. Would John Wayne have had the same effect if he had kept his original first name, "Marion"? or what if Bob Dylan had stayed "Zimmerman"?


Alice C. Linsley said...

The Cash song is clever and the tune is catchy.

I've posted the first part of the story in which all the characters have one-syllable, one-consonant names. Hebrew has no vowels and tends to have tri-consonant words, but the Chadic languages tend to be bi-consonantal. What Hebrew renders as Enoch is Nok in its older form. We see the older names in the 3-clan confederations listed in the Bible, such as Uz, Buz and Huz, and Og, Gog and Ma-Gog.