Weekly Roundup 9-5-18 Name That Character!

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

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 main idea is to make them easy to pronounce, fit the time and place of the story, and match the character’s personality. The last thing I want to do is cause a reader to take a pass on the book because they can’t get past my attempt to be “creative”, cute, or mysterious.

If you think I’m simply being lazy, you may be right! For me, reading serves as entertainment, so I tend to reject books which force me to work hard to understand them – and that includes 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.


This week has been strange as I began saying goodbye to co-workers and cut ties in preparation for my move. I will miss some people of course, but not the job, company, state, or city! I’ve been here almost four years but knew all along it would be temporary. I’m more than ready to get out of Dodge and start fresh in a new place. Moving is a pain, but being closer to my kids makes it worth the trouble.

I finished a crucial chapter of Traitor’s Moon and will spend today editing. It turned out differently than I planned, but I’m very pleased with it. The next chapter features a shifter memorial service, requiring a careful blend of human and paranormal elements to make it convincing. I look forward to the challenge! Word count is now 64,000.

My third grandchild was due on September first, and we are still waiting. The Doctor says everything is fine and my daughter-in-law is feeling good, but tired. Sadly for me, they live 1300 miles away (though the move will bring me 800 miles closer), so I have no idea when I will see the little one. Perhaps next week I’ll have good news to share!




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4 responses to “Weekly Roundup 9-5-18 Name That Character!”

  1. H.R.R. Gorman Avatar

    I think you’re absolutely right. What sucks is when you’ve written a book then realize afterwards that people don’t like the names. I’m toying with whether or not to change the names in the book I wrote.

    1. Alexander Elliott Avatar
      Alexander Elliott

      If it’s an eBook, this would be a relatively easy fix. I’ve gone back and made many alterations to already-published books based on reader feedback. If the names are a hindrance, by all means change them! Sometimes it’s hard to think of your creation as “flawed”, but if the criticism is valid a good author will be more interested in quality than their pride. I think you’re on the right track.

      1. H.R.R. Gorman Avatar

        I’ve not published it – I want to go with the traditional route, and I’m almost done editing. Some people have really enjoyed the names while others did not. So it’s a toss up; were the people who didn’t like the names being overly harsh, or were the people who did like the names too lenient? Where do I fall in there? How many of them need to change, if any?

        So it’s interesting.

      2. Alexander Elliott Avatar
        Alexander Elliott

        Tough call, but I’m glad you are addressing it now. Assuming your beta readers have voiced concern, your future editor/publisher probably will too. Now’s the time to fix it, so I hope you are able to decide what to do. Readers have no idea what authors go through!!

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