How to choose the name of the characters in his novel?

There are two types of writers when it comes to naming characters: those for whom choosing the name of the characters in their story is a long and meticulous task and those who choose names somewhat haphazardly, without thinking too much about their meaning or scope. Names that fit the stories, names with special meanings, bold names… how do you find your way around? Read our advice to help you in this not-always-easy choice.

plausible character names

First, you have to think about the plausibility of the name chosen for your character, in comparison to the world in which it evolves. Indeed, it would be quite strange to find a Maxim or an Emeric as the hero of a medieval story. Also, it’s best to avoid forcing an era name into a very modern story, at least not without addressing the choice through another character or the character themselves. It can be fun to let the character explain his name himself: where it comes from, why his parents called him that, and his relationship with his first name if it is rather strange… These are good lines of thought that can allow to complicate a character.

Of course, the idea of when the character evolves is covered above, but there are several other factors to consider, including their origins, social status, age, and more. Having a first name that fits well into your story is one more step towards creating a character that people will identify with, and that they will believe in.

Also Read: How to Create a Novel Character?

Bold character names

While plausibility is important, that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun choosing our character names! It can be a very enjoyable part of writing a manuscript. You have to keep in mind that an author spends countless hours with the characters in his story: it is important that his choices speak to him, and inspire him. So, as long as there is a logical connection or even an explanation for the name, an author can certainly afford to play outside the box a little.

It should also be noted that readers are very fond of discovering hidden meanings: they like to push their thinking beyond the story presented to them. For example, naming a character after a mythical character or a historical figure can give readers food for thought, make them want to learn more about this known character, and make connections between them. Your novel is your playground: you can put all the links and clues, easy or not, as you want!

Tips for choosing the name of your characters

Of course, there is the classic technique: like when you learn that you are pregnant, you can go to the name banks that exist all over the Web for inspiration. In Quebec, there is, for example, the Encyclopedia of Quebec First Names or the Bank of First Names of Retraite Quebec, while in France you can use the very practical Interactive First Name Map. There are even name banks that indicate the popularity of different first names over the years, which can be very practical when you want to place your character in a particular era. But are there other ways to do it?

Some authors are inspired by people around them. However, you have to be careful not to fully describe a person, but to use their first name and create a character in their own right (unless of course if it’s an autobiography or an autofiction, and in this case, often, you have to ask the person in question to make sure they are comfortable being so named.) Thinking about people or characters who have marked us is always a good starting point, but it is It is also interesting for authors to discover new first names that have no personal meaning and to create a whole new life for them.

And then there is also the trial and error option. Sometimes a writer can start writing their manuscript with a name and, in the middle of the process, realize that they don’t like it, that it doesn’t fit well with their image of his character. You have to be able to take that step back in order to come up with a name that feels effortless for your character. Also, at the time of editing, if you opt for traditional editing, your editor may bring up certain similarities between certain names, or with characters that already exist, and suggest certain modifications. It’s important to keep in mind that until the novel is in print, everything is malleable.

Also Read: FIVE Mistakes to Avoid in Character Characterization

Most important: have fun

Choose the name of your characters,