Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You Don't Choose Your Own Name

One of the things I find terribly interesting is names. People can sometimes strongly judge others by their names. And in literature, a character's name is almost as important to their identity as the things they actually say and do. But in real life, we don't choose our own name (at least not at birth), so it seems strange how attached to it we become.

A frustration I tend to have is when I want to name a character, I simply want a name that sounds good, and yet, it seems that everybody demands that every character have a kind of symbolism to their name, that it identify who the character is. And I admit, it is weird to think of a badass action hero named Enid or Eugine, but, much the same way that we define ourselves by the name that somebody else chose for us, if you make a badass character who happens to be named Enid, she will still be thought of as a badass because of what she does, not what her name is.

I think what matters more than anything else is that the names you choose be pronounceable, and that they fit the setting your story is in. Beyond that, focus on who your character is more than what they're called. Eventually, it will be just right.

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