100% Wrong Ways to Choose Fictional Character Names

Author:
Publish date:

Today's tip was taken from 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes. Learn how to make your fiction book or novel stand out from the others. Since the world of publishing is so competitive these days, it's important to do what you can to make your writing stand out from the crowd. Creating awesome character names can make a story fun to read and, if you choose the right fictional character names, not only will a reader be engaged, but they will also remember your plot and keep reading.

Ways to Avoid Picking the Wrong Character Names

One common writing mistake is choosing character names that don't fit their personality or traits. Make sure each name you choose fits the character, i.e., a seductress should have a name that draws a reader in. Here are more "do not" tips when choosing your characters' names:

  • Confusing character names. Readers have to remember your characters' names and be able to tell characters apart from each other.
  • Fictional character names that are hard to pronounce. For example, if you're writing science fiction, don't have an alien antagonist with a name consisting of fourteen consonants that could never be pronounced. You'll lose the readers attention.
  • Too many characters to remember. Keep it simple! Give names only to characters who are important to the story.
  • Names that sound the same. Avoid giving different characters names that start with the same letter unless you have a specific reason for doing so. One way to prevent this from happening is by listing out the letters of the alphabet, and then putting the names of your characters in place, with only one per letter.

A Look at Some of the Best Character Names

Don't make a rookie mistake by having all of your fictional character names sound alike. In fact, naming your characters should be one of the "fun" parts of the writing process. This is your chance to stretch your creativity and think of a name that represents and embodies your characters' personalities. Perhaps it would be helpful to take a look at some of the best character names from movies and books. Take for example, Lion King character names which are all fun to say--Simba, Timon, Pumbaa, Scar, Nala, Mufasa, ZaZu, and Rafiki. Fantasy fiction writers could look to Harry Potter's character names for inspiration--it's not everyday you meet a character named Moaning Myrtle or Dumbledore. Science fiction writers, take a look at Star Wars character names, such as Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, and Jabba the Hutt. What to all of these examples have in common? They all have interesting names that are memorable.

What are some of the worst character names you have seen or have come up with?

Buy 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes now!

Check out more tips and easy-to-apply advice on writing.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Give Order

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Give Order

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character give an order.

Casey Wilson: On Writing a Non-Human Perspective

Casey Wilson: On Writing a Non-Human Perspective

Author Casey Wilson shares what it was like to write from the perspective of a dog in her latest novel A Dog's Hope, as well as the journey from indie to traditional publishing.

Family Stories as Inspiration for Historical Fiction

Family Stories as Inspiration for Historical Fiction

When writing fiction, there's always a fine line between reality and make-believe. Debut author Kirstin Beck explains how her family's history became the seed for her novel Courage, My Love.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 22

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a nature poem.

The Past Is Never Past: Drawing on Personal History to Write Engaging Historical Fiction

The Past Is Never Past: Drawing on Personal History to Write Engaging Historical Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Karen White discusses what drew her to writing historical fiction and how she uses a modern setting to explore history.

Writing Multiple Timelines and Points of View

Writing Multiple Timelines and Points of View

YA author Natalie Lund gives her top reasons why writers who might be afraid to play with multiple timelines and/or points of view should jump in feet first.

Alexander Weinstein: On Writing a Thematic Short Story Collection

Alexander Weinstein: On Writing a Thematic Short Story Collection

Author Alexander Weinstein discusses how he came to select the theme of his new short story collection, Universal Love, and what it was like to see those themes reflected in the real world.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a blank me poem.

4 Tips for Writing about Family Grudges

4 Tips for Writing about Family Grudges

Author Samantha Downing discusses the techniques she used when writing her literary novel He Started It, which focuses on family secrets, old grudges, and lots of scores to settle.