Saturday, May 18, 2013

iUniverse Tips on Naming your Characters Part 1

Dickens Bill Sykes
iUniverse knows as an author there are many scenarios to consider when still penning your latest fiction adventure. Your mind maybe jumping ahead to book-signings when published or your back cover blurb, but before all of that you have to create your story, not just the plot and location but also your characters.

iUniverse says it may seem a grand idea to name your characters after your parents or Uncle Bob, but is it advisable. There are a few things to keep in mind when you decide this crucial aspect of what could be a history making book. One is the character’s personality, secondly their ethnicity and of course their name?

Do you think that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby would be as famously known if he were named John Green, or what about Trevor swinging through the trees of Africa instead of the more manly Edgar Rice Burroughs’ character Tarzan? We all have our favorite characters in books, TV and movies, so getting it right will help sell your books long after you have finished your book marketing with iUniverse.

iUniverse insists get to know your characters

Firstly you must know your character intimately. Giving them the right name will impress on the reader long after they have finished your book. So before giving him/her their character name create an outline on each of them. A couple of things to consider are “what makes them who they are” and “what motivates them”.

Having the right name for your character is a must
iUniverse asserts Trevor of the Apes doesn’t have that manly ring to it.

Outlining your hero is imperative to a long lasting character that can move to further books and adventures. Is he muscular, strong and powerful like Tarzan? Would the name Trevor still impress you even though he has these physical attributes? Probably not!

How about Elizabeth Bennett, a perfectly good English name. Does her name inspire you to read about this heroine? How does her name come across, is she a lady or some wretch living in squalor. Of course we know that Miss Elizabeth is one of the most famous of characters from Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. But from her name and part in the story you can distinguish an idea of the character as being probably refined and of above average education.

Make sure you give names to your characters that relate them to their ethnic origins. Such names as Francis or John can be transposed to other nationalities such as Francois or Juan. But putting a Bert in period piece set in France may not be believable.

Giving them a First name

Naming your book character well Miss Scarlett
iUniverse discovered the wonderful Scarlett O’Hara could of be wrongly named “Pansy”.

Once you have compiled a list of characteristics of your hero or heroine it is time to select a name. Using the two categories outlined above, “who they are” and “where they are from” will help. So naming your hero Tarzan (white-skin in the Mangani (ape) language, Tarzan of the Apes) is very appropriate to the story.

So let’s look at your heroine, what of her name and origins. A very famous character is Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind. Her first name was originally going to be “Pansy” and thankfully the author changed it just before going to press. Her surname gives you knowledge of her heritage being from “the old country” – Ireland. But be careful when naming men in your story’s setting or era. Scarlett’s love interest was Ashley Wilkes and was appropriate for that time period. In the UK this is still used as a boy’s name, but is also now common for females.

iUniverse publishing hopes you enjoyed this first article in our two part series, iUniverse Tips on Naming your Characters. In the second we outline how to give your characters surnames; we also look at your secondary characters and of course getting it right when it comes to the genre you are writing for.

To learn more about the role of iUniverse in the successful book publishing revolution. Click Here


Post a Comment