As a kid, and later as a teenager, the main thing I liked about comics, movies, and cartoons were the names of the main characters. For some reason, they sounded cool, and seemed to suit their bearers perfectly. However, when I started to write my own stories, I discovered the most difficult part for me was inventing names for my characters.
Now, I think I know why it happened. Names like John, Sarah, Bill, and other normal names sounded too… regular for my ear. I would try to name my characters fancifully; and though one or two uncommon names would sound okay, in many of my stories, almost every character had a name like Jeremiah, Winston, or Gordon-Lewitt. Even teens.
(By the way, in my previous blog I posted an extract from an old short story of mine. In it, I use the “he” pronoun because of this particular reason—I couldn’t invent a normal name for the character).
Here are some of the names that I used in the beginning of my writing career:
Addison Pierce, Jr.,
Zane (it’s a form of John, kind of a compromise) Atherton,
and so on.
No, my characters weren’t British, and no, they weren’t aristocrats. Imagine a bunch of characters with these (or similar) names populating the same short story. Moreover, these characters would be regular American citizens—a teen working at a gas station, an office worker, and so on. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it?
Now I’m okay with giving my characters such names as John Murray, or Jane Porter, thank God. And, my conclusion from all of this is: don’t try to be original where it is not needed.
Let your story amaze your readers, not the names of the weirdos whom you chose to be your characters.
P.S. Well, if you have problems with inventing names, or feel lazy to bother yourself with this, you can use this character name generator. Enjoy!
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