Q:

How do book writers choose the names of their characters?

A:

Quick Answer

Book writers typically choose character names that reflect personality, have meaning, are age appropriate and combine common and unusual names. A good character name is unique, memorable and fits the story.

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Full Answer

Many writers choose a character’s name based on the character’s temperament or disposition. This illustrates the character’s personality and makes it easy for the reader to relate to him.

Writers also often choose their character’s names based on meaning to add subtext to the character and reflect his role in the story. Writers who look up the literal meanings of all their character’s names are more likely to find inspiration and less likely to name their characters inappropriately, for instance, by giving a Chinese character a Japanese name.

A good writer chooses an age-appropriate name. A good character name should coincide with the era in which he is born and take into account the character’s ethnic and cultural background.

Lastly, some writers use a combination of common and unusual names such as a common first name and an unusual last name or vice versa. Exotic or unusual names designed to be unique or interesting may appear forced or sound out of place and may divert the reader’s attention from the story.

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