What’s in a name?

As a writer we have to of course name our characters.  but how important is the name?


O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet.  So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,  Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title.

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

I love this scene from Romeo and Juliet and it is probably one of the few lines that I can recite by heart to this day.  (I learned this in grade 9…many years ago.)  It always struck a chord with me.   So when I write  I try to make my names match my characters.  This can be very subjective since  a strong name to me could be Nathan


Hellooo Nathan!




but to you Nathan could bring images of a wimpy character.

   Nathan?  Really? Hmmm.  So you see the dilemma.

When I start writing, I write whatever name comes to mind at the time of writing.  I then analyse during editing whether or not to keep the name for various reasons.  My current story has three strong male leads.

Jesse – the popular, good looking, high school Jock.  Not a jerk but usually sweet and very charming.  Loved by all, but a little conceited and not the swiftest.

Justin – the boy next door, smart, funny, best friend of my Heroine, possible love interest with a heart of gold and a strong romantic – love you forever- kind of guy.

Jake – the mostly bad, mostly evil demon who has a tiny bit of good in him.  Oh and he is about 100 years old, but looks 18, so an older name would be good.

S o you see the problem.  Too many J’s and the reader gets confused.

I am looking for help for any or all names.  Hopefully I will get some new ideas to fit my characters.  I appreciate any and all feedback.  Please leave me a comment on a name for which character.

Thanks a bunch! 🙂




5 responses to “What’s in a name?

  1. You’ve hit upon the one thing that really annoys me… authors who name their characters with similar sounding or alliterative names. It makes it so much harder to follow who is who. I have one piece of advice never call a hunky character Kevin.

  2. I like trying to match the right name for my characters, too, without sounding too forced about it. My minor characters I just pull something out of the hat and hope it’s not too similar to something else I’ve chosen!

    Thanks for the visit to my site!

  3. I am trying to name some characters myself right now too. So far nothing raises my flag. Thinking about naming them after Twilight characters just to get going, then change the names later. Oh wait, that has been done before… 😉

    Jesse seems like a wimpy name to me though. Only John Stamos can pull it off.

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