This week: What's Your Name? Edited by: ♊️GeminiGem💎
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|“What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” ~William Shakespeare|
Hello! I am ♊️GeminiGem💎, but you can call me Leah. I am your guest editor for this edition of the Short Stories Newsletter, and we are going to explore naming our characters.
What's Your Name?
ow much thought do you give to the names you assign to the characters in your stories? Do you grab the first name that comes to mind, do you try to match the name to the character, do you do any research to come up with ideas?
I don't think there isn't a right or wrong way to do this. If you are anything like me, the answer to how I name my characters would be, "It depends." Sometimes if feels like characters names themselves. I will have a character in mind, and the name it already attached. Maybe I don't want to use that name but I am not left with any choice in the matter. Other times, it isn't quite as easy.
I rarely make any critical remarks about name choices when I am reviewing a story, but it does occur. One problem I saw in a short story was that the names of multiple characters were too similar, and I could not keep the characters straight. Every name was very common and one syllable. Yes, I realize that could happen in "real life", but if it is a fictional story, why make it hard on your readers? If you have a Paul, than instead of having a Mike, maybe choose Mickey instead. It is similar but is a bit less common and is two syllables instead of one. Your reader doesn't have a lot of time to get to know your characters in a short story. They shouldn't have to spend that time constantly trying to sort out who is which character.
On the flip side, I had a reviewer of one of my short stories tell me they didn't think I chose a good name for a character. In the reviewers opinion, the name didn't fit the character and they associated the name with an older person. Keep in mind that we all associate characteristics with names. You had a great-aunt named Stacy, then that name is associated with an older generation for you. You knew a bully in high school by a certain name, then you may have a harder time seeing a fun, easy-going character with that name. Not everyone has that same association, though, so as a reader/reviewer you should give a character a chance.
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