“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”
William Shakespeare; Romeo & Juliet
How do you decide on names for your characters? Do they come to you fully formed introducing themselves to you or do you have to play twenty questions to figure out the mystery guest?
If you are writing a regency romance then your leading man is not going to be called Herbie or Sam or Vladimir. If you are writing a tongue in cheek erotic work of fiction, Vlad the Impaler might indeed be your main man but otherwise, no.
For an action adventure type the leading man probably shouldn’t be named Rip or Timmy or something cutesy. He should be named something macho, uber sexy, with loads of machismo. Clarence just doesn’t instill sexiness vibes while Dirk, Rocco, Kane sends ripples of pheromones rippling through our bodies in anticipation of their testosterone overload.
If you are a fan of Clarence, go for it but for me I cant’ help but think of the angel in It’s a Wonderful Life. Not my idea of sexy.
Keys to making your leading characters endearing begins with their name. Consider your genre, consider your time period. Regency period characters shouldn’t go by shortened nicknames. Charles Joseph Axminster the Third should not be called Chuckie. But if the character was the new kid in town, in a Young adult romance he might go by Chuck. The bullies might call him Chuckles. Close friends who have gotten to know him might call him Axman, since he is a whiz at martial arts. Maybe his mum calls him Joey, because dad is Chuck and Grandpa is Charles. Or maybe he is the ultra cool new guy that is amazing on guitar and he goes by Chaz.
So what’s in a name? The whole character that’s what!
Write on my friends, write on!