This is a truly random process for me. Most of the time a name for a character pops in my head and I go with that.
Associating a specific name with personality traits is based on personal experience.
For example, in one of my books, Igor was a gorgeous, sensitive fireman (geez, this looks straight out of a cheesy romance, but I swear that was not the case, I normally hate “perfect characters” and sure enough Igor made only a brief appearance). Now, everyone in my writer group said Igor was not a good name for him, as if sexy, smart firemen could not be called Igor.
Well, guess what, I knew a sexy fireman called Igor ;P
Eventually I renamed the character for different reasons, but here is a wink to all the sexy Igors out there ;P
1-Keep names to a minimum. Try to name characters only if they play a role important enough that the reader needs to remember them.
For example, don’t name your main character’s best friend’s parents unless they are central in your story.
2-Avoid characters who have similar names, even more so if they have similar personalities or appearance.
For example, never name twins Matthew and Michael. As much as this is very common in real life it will make it very hard for your reader to tell them apart.
I go as far as to try and avoid the same initial, although that is not always possible when you are working on a series with lots of characters (for example my main character and her best friend are named Leda and Lexi, short for Alessia).
3-Use names to add flavor to your story.
For example, my story takes place in Italy, so most names are Italian: Niccolo, Flavio, Sergio, Angelo, Alessia, Silvia, etc… Leda is actually a very uncommon name ;)
How do you choose memorable names?
You make them memorable. Pour all your love and craft into your characters and readers will remember them forever.
Some of my favorite characters (Noah, Kaz, Baz) made me really like their names, it was never the other way around.
Leda (Leda Balni)
Italian (from northern Italy): bookworm and tomboy that won’t conform to the expectations of her reactionary culture. Green/blue eyes, glasses, short, long twiggy hair, white skin, overweight (from teens on)
Nico (Nicolò Salisi)
Italian (from Sicily): shady, mysterious, angry, a bit of a bully. Olive skin, dark smooth hair, dark eyes.
Italian (adopted): smart, intuitive, mature, black hair and eyes, brown skin.
Italian (from Rome) Tall, green eyes, strawberry blond hair, stocky, flirty, bubbly
Italian (from northern Italy): Tall, skinny, acne, pale blue eyes, many piercings (from teens), quiet, smart, a little bitter
Italian (from the Alps): Short, skinny, green eyes, damaged vocal cords (really throaty voice), introvert, smart, sensitive, refuses to speak dialect
Tox (last name is Toscani, no one knows his first name or where he came from)
Stocky, overweight, strong, big scar on his face, loud, funny, brown curls, dark eyes, Dad is in jail
Claudio (Claudio Centi)
Asian descent (black smooth hair) but with gray eyes, skinny, highly logical, reads a lot, practices karate
I could go on forever, but I will stop here ;P
Who am I to give you advice?
I am Gaia B Amman, the author of the Italian Saga (#TIS), a YA series taking place in gorgeous Italy, and talking about everything I was told is impolite to talk about ;) .
The series, indie published, is rated 4.6/5 stars on Amazon and 4.3/5 on Goodreads ^_^ All amazon #1 new releases!
The last volume, book 4, comes out November 6th!!! YAY ^_^ Book launch party in Buffalo, NY, everyone is welcome! RSVP here
The books are recommended for ages 13 and above, but most of my readers are adults.
Get the Indie Author Guide for freeI firmly believe that no one can write your story, so I set out to help other writers get their book out there ^_^
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