Today my guest is the very talented Juliet Madison, author of Romagic Comedy, Women’s Fiction and YA Fiction. She’s not yet celebrated 12 months as a published author, but in that time has managed to release 2 Novellas and 3 Novels! Busy lady.
Today also heralds the beginning of a new type of post for my blog – Writer’s Craft Corner, where we will discuss the craft of writing and hopefully pass along a few tips.
However, in celebration of Juliet’s newest release, The January Wish, which will be followed up next month with another newbie, February or Forever, here’s Juliet with some craft tips for us…
5 Ways to Choose Character Names
I love this part of writing, coming up with new characters. It’s like having kids but without the pain and sleep deprivation. Here are some ways to help choose character names:
1. Random, first name that comes to mind: Many of my characters are chosen this way. I simply choose the name that pops into my head if it suits the character and story. Not all are that easy though, some take a bit more work and consideration.
2. Ask on social media for ideas: Online friends are a great source of ideas, so ask away! Many are happy to help as it can be fun to come up with character names. You can brainstorm as many names as possible and then create a shortlist for first name and surname, or even get readers to vote on their favourite.
3. Hold a competition: Similar to the above, invite people to submit their choice for a name, and put all contributions into a draw for a prize. If you choose one of the suggestions, that person wins, or if more than one person has suggested the chosen name, you can put them into a random draw to pick a winner. Perhaps the winner can receive a copy of the book when it’s released, or a previous book.
4. Look up ideas: Use baby name books, name websites, the phone book, movie credits..etc, anywhere there is a list of names. Highlight those that catch your attention, then choose the most appropriate, or again, get feedback or votes from others to make the final decision. Remember to choose names that suit the character’s age… you can work out what year they may have been born and look up popular names for that year, so that your choice is suitable to the era in which they were born.
5. Find one with a deeper meaning for your story: This is an interesting way to find a suitable character name. Think of the traits your character possesses, or something meaningful about their heritage or the themes of the storyline, then look up names that mean those things. This can be a fun way of adding an extra element to your book. For example, if your character has warrior traits, he could be called Alex which means warrior or defender.
In my new novel, THE JANUARY WISH, I used tip number 1: the names popped into my head. Dr Sylvia Greene, Mark Bastian, and Grace Forrester. But now that I’ve written more books I’m finding I need to think a bit more carefully about names!
Writers, how do you choose your character’s names? Readers, have you ever read a book where you really disliked the character’s name?,
Thanks Juliet – great advice. I struggle at times with names, and change them often! I use the online registry for Births, Deaths and Marriages to determine which names were popular in a certain year or decade for authenticity.
THE JANUARY WISH
When Dr Sylvia Greene makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, it’s the most out of character action she can think of. Hers is not a life of wishes. Hers is a controlled life of order, plans and preparation…of science and research and diagnosis and treatment. But her past has been weighing on her mind, and decisions made long ago have far-reaching consequences.
A week later, the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen arrives in Sylvia’s small coastal town with secrets that can’t be shared. Between feelings of guilt, gossip, and a growing attraction to an emotionally unavailable colleague, Sylvia’s well-ordered life is soon thrown into chaos. She is no longer alone, and for the first time she feels as if her world is open to possibilities.
They say be careful what you wish for, but, for Sylvia, the unexpected consequences may be just what the doctor ordered.
Buy THE JANUARY WISH from all good ebook retailers:
>> WIN! Enter via Rafflecopter below to win a $25 Amazon gift voucher and a coastal photographic print of the setting of The January Wish. Competition is open worldwide and the winner will be drawn at the beginning of February.