RedPen Editing
Character names

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An expectant Mum will spend hours thinking what name to call her child. Websites galore offer explanations as to what each name means.

  • Amelia = work
  • Charlotte = free man
  • Elizabeth = God is perfection
  • Jack = man or boy
  • Harry = lord of the manor
  • Jacob= God will protect

You might not consider this matters much, but choosing names for your characters is more important than you might think.

A reader’s perception plays a large part in how your character will be received.

  • Everyday names – like Jane and John, Jack and Jill – imply everyday people?
  • Unusual names like Henrietta or  Carrington, imply unusual – and hence more important people?

It will help your readers if you avoid having names that are too similar for two different characters. It could be confusing to have Beth and Betty, married to Tim and Tom?

Where to source your names?

Try telephone directories for surnames and go online to those baby-naming sites for first names.

What if the name doesn’t seem to fit?

I often find, while writing, that the given name, the one I chose originally, doesn’t suit the character who is evolving within my story. If that happens, a simple ‘Find & Replace’ can be used to change ‘Tim’ into ‘Ben’. However, in doing this replacement, be sure to use ‘Match case’ so words like ‘time’ and ‘timorous’ don’t change into ‘bene’ and ‘benorous’.

In anticipation of this possible challenge, I recommend choosing names which don’t appear as strings of characters within other words!