Writer: What’s in a name

Recently a friend mentioned mentally shortening an author’s character’s name because it was too long, confusing, difficult to pronounce. I’ve done the same.

It’s not because I want to change the name but because it interferes with my reading enjoyment if I need to keep struggling to mentally say it. Which, I admit, is unfair to the writer who probably spent time picking or developing the name. There’s always meanings behind names. And reasons for the choice.

And that’s why names are important. Think why you named your child or why/how your niece or nephew were named.

I once named one of my character’s Angel Starr. A normal everyday teen girl. No, Starr wasn’t her last name I just liked the name. It wasn’t until I met a girl whose name was Angel and she told me she didn’t like her name, too many jokes and giggles, that I gave a thought how some people may not like their names. What is cute to a parent or a tradition may not sit or suit the person. We grow into our names and identity. When writing names for fiction keep in mind who the characters are. That it fits them and if they might have had problems with it. As a child some loved calling me Pissy Chrissy.

Keep in mind the history of your character and why that particular name…and any nicknames or teasings that may have played on them.



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