7 Things to Avoid When Naming Characters

I’ve talked about this twice already, and I still have more to say!

Here are a few things you’ll want to think about when searching for that perfect name for your perfectly flawed character. Your readers will thank you for it!


Don’t use a thousand accent marks

You don’t want to write them all. No one wants to read them all. And who wants to try and figure out how the names are supposed to sound?

I would say that there can be exceptions to this, for sure…but you might want to consider adding in a pronunciation guide. (Thanks, Christopher Paolini!)


Don’t obsess too much over meanings and origins

THEY ARE FUN TO LOOK UP, don’t get me wrong. And they’re a great place to find inspiration. But it’s not likely that the meaning of a name will be common knowledge, so you don’t need to worry too much about it.


Don’t change the spelling too much

If you do go about changing the spelling of a regular name, try to keep it recognizable for what it started out as. And please don’t add a bunch of unnecessary letters.
(If you're twisting a regular name to come up with a totally new one, then don't worry about it!  :D )


Don’t revenge-name a character

If you want to, I can’t stop you. But I don’t think you really want to taint your beautiful novel with a character you named after someone you hate just to be mean to them. It’s an exercise much better suited for a piece of paper that you tear up and throw away afterwards…. Plus, you don’t want to be reminded of that person every time you write a name. And it might ruin the potential of a character.


Don’t feel like you have to stick to conventional names

People have always named their kids weird things. **decides not to name a bunch of celebrities here** Be quirky with your names, as long as they fit the character in some way—even if it’s by sounding the exact opposite of their personality!


Don’t have too many similar names

If they all start with the same letter, or sound the same, they’ll be too difficult to tell apart. And it’s just kind of annoying to read, really. So…don’t do it!


Don’t give someone a quirky name just for the heck of it

In my browsing of so many baby name websites, I’ve come across some really strange names. And even though celebrities are—somehow—allowed to get away with naming their kids really weird things (Audio? Java? What even, guys??), maybe, um, don’t do that. Don’t be that person, okay?


Of course, you can ignore all of this and name your characters whatever you want. <3

What is the story behind your main character's name?  I'd love to hear it!