Thursday, October 21, 2010

Character Names

Normally when I get a new story idea, I don't know the characters' names right away. I'll write down the idea with girl or guy in leui of names. Before I sit down to actually start typing the story, I'll pick a name then. If the story is historical, I'llmake sure the names are time period approiate. Other times, I'll pick a name because of its meaning. Or just because I like the sound of the name. Baby name sites are awesome.

For my fantasy YA story, I've been thinking of changing the male MC's name. The main character is Alexia. Right now, the MMC is Artex. I started this story in the 6th grade (literally, wrote parts of it during class) and The Neverending Story was my favorite story (still is up there). When I started the story, I had loaned my copy to a friend. I had wanted to name my MMC after the horse, but misspelled it. The horse's name is spelled Artax. When I realized that, I never bothered to correct the spelling.

Now, however, I don't want to name this character after the horse. So I need a new name for him. One that is unusual, unique. I had thought of Alastair. Someone on twitter suggested Arthus. I'm partial to that name. But remember, the FMC is Alexia. It's probably not the best of ideas to have both characters names start with 'A'. Can I get away with it though, since the story is told in 1st person? Or is two 'A' names too confusing?

Hmmm... maybe Ruthus? Any suggestions? Thoughts? I would really appreciate your insight!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, my main characters are Byron and Bassa, both 'B.'

LM Preston said...

I love character's names. Some tips I got from my betas was to have name spellings different enough for them to decipher who is who. I also have a fetish for aligning the meaning of the mc character's name to the plot of the book. I have to admit to liking names that are a bit different from mainstream US names.

Cherie Reich said...

Ah, the infamous task of naming your characters. Some character names jump out at me, and I know that is the character's name. Others, I really have to search for them.

They say not to have names that are very similar because it can create confusion. If they're male and female characters, you might could get away with it easier. If the story is told in first person, I think it'll make it even easier to get away with it.

In the end, it'll be up to the publisher. Yes, I've heard they can request you change character names. So you can keep it with what you feel it should be and reflects the character and run with it.

You can even try to have a critique/beta partner read it and see if they're confused. An audience can tell you a lot.

Talli Roland said...

I wouldn't use two A names, if you can help it. As a reader, I find grasping character names the hardest thing and I often get confused! But maybe that's just me!

Quinn said...

Two A names -- as long as they're not Alexia and Alex -- should be fine, especially since it's in first person.

Choosing names is my favorite part of writing. I love thinking up the perfect name for a character.

The Golden Eagle said...

I don't think having two names that start with the same letter is too confusing. As long as the rest of their names aren't similar.

Angela Ackerman said...

Arthus..I really like that one.

I'm fond of unusual names too, but I find that unless there's a strong fantasy component, most people have to stay with one unusual name per book. More than that and I hear writers are asked to change one of them by eds/agents.

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Clarissa Draper said...

I'm horrible with names. I call downstairs to my husband and he comes up with names. That's what husbands are for... ;)