Don’t be fooled – naming characters is more difficult than it would seem. Well, I think it should be if you’re doing it right.
Some authors insist on choosing unfortunate, distracting, or uncomplimentary names for their characters, making the story difficult to read or enjoy. You know the ones I mean:
- a modern-day protagonist with a nineteenth century moniker such as Gladys or Herbert.
- a sci-fi hero in the far future with a three-part name only a linguist can figure out.
- a fantasy epic requiring a pronunciation guide for the MC’s (which, I am sorry to say, seldom helps).
I have my own set of “rules” for creating character names which takes additional time, but I believe it’s worth it. The top three are: make the names easy to pronounce, be certain they fit the time and place of the story, and match them to the character’s personality. The last thing I want to do is cause a reader to reject my story because they can’t get past my attempt to be “creative”, cute, or mysterious.
For me, reading serves as entertainment, so I tend to pass on books that force me to work hard to understand them, including character names. I suppose I’m missing out on some great literature by being so picky, but life is short and my brain cells deserve a rest when I’m reading.