What’s In A Name? A Guide To Naming Your Fictional Characters

I’ve had this saved in my drafts for almost 2 years now #lazy. After two years I figured that I should finally right and this blog post. Actually, I’m using the dictation feature on my iPhone while I’m in the car with my dogs waiting for my husband to come out of the grocery store.

Dictation is a success. Dick Dick Dick Dick Dick Dick Tatian. That was me playing with the feature. Haha. Dick!

On to the point because I hate when bloggers tell me about their lives before they get to the recipe.

As someone who writes fiction, I often get asked where do you come up with the names for your characters? For some reason, people seem to be really baffled by the fact that you can make up a name for a fictional person even though there are millions of them in the fictional universe.

 

 

 

Here are some pointers.

1. Keep it simple

My characters all have simple, meaningless names. Rex. Alex. Evelyn. Aaron. Kat. Autumn. Chris. Craig. Claire. Gavin. Holden. Jack. Lola. Candy.

You’re going to be typing these names a lot. What would you rather type several hundred times…Jack or Balthazar?

 

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Don’t be Rose. Don’t let go of Jack.

 

The most complicated names I have in my book series, which has a lot of characters are Jeanette and Deirdre. They might have to die.

Also, names don’t have to mean anything. Mine sure as hell don’t. The majority of the names I’ve used in my fiction are from this site.

This rule might not apply if you’re writing a fantasy novel. If that’s the case, go nuts. It’s what the readers want and expect from a fantasy novel.

A murder mystery set in the 1930s wouldn’t have the same type of names that a fantasy novel would. The one-off short, horror novellas I churn out on occasion are full of characters who are going to die in a few pages anyway. What’s the point in investing in typing out some crazy ass name for 5 pages when you’re just going to kill them anyway?

Readers are going to get frustrated with hard to pronounce names or names that don’t fit the narrative. Also, flowery, overly descriptive writing, including names reads like your seventh-grade portfolio or that you’re trying too hard. Neither one is cool.

Just a friendly reminder you will never be this cool.

 

2. Be original

By this, I don’t mean unique. I mean don’t blatantly rip off another character’s name. Don’t name your hero Wayne Bruce or your female character Scarlett.

Bonus: avoid naming a fictional character after a real person. It’s lazy. Unless you are writing historical fiction about a real historical figure. However, naming characters after cities, towns, counties, and streets is fine.

3. Don’t over think it

Insert clich√© here. It’s not rocket science. Think about all the crappy books out there and the crappy books you’ve read. If those bonehead authors can come up with names for their characters, so can you.

Sincerely,

Another bonehead author

 

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#TEASER TUESDAY For My Upcoming Release “Halloween House Party”

 

Halloween House Party

I made dis.

Halloween House Party is another short horror novel from my twisted mind. The book will be up for pre-order within the next week (I’ll keep you posted).

Twin brothers, Chris and Craig along with their roommate Goober have been planning a blowout Halloween party for months. It’s their senior year of college, their last time to really throw down.
When an unfortunate accident meets wrong place at the wrong time, the boys are determined not to let the setback literally crash their party. As the Halloween shenanigans continue, an escaped psycho killer joins the party for his own breed of murderous fun.

This exclusive teaser will only be available for a limited time!

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Why I Write What I Write (And Don’t Hold Back)

This week, my second book and first full novel was released on Amazon. Yay me! (I guess… waiting for the inevitable bad reviews.) I didn’t want to self-publish my book and be an indie author. The label of indie can either be cool or pretentious crap, depending on your tastes. Since I don’t write pretentious crap, I suppose that makes me cool.

I still feel like a failure because I didn’t get an agent and a shiny book deal. In a sea of generic romance novels, predictable mysteries, over-detailed, dull dribble, and the ever-popular young adult novels set in dystopia, I honestly didn’t stand a chance. Now, here we are. I guess I’ll just have to get over it. I got over a hundred rejections AND actually had an agent tell me by book wouldn’t sell. Writing books is hard, guys.#DestinedForMediocrity

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Me trying to get my book published.

There’s no denying ebooks are the future, and the future is now. I don’t have to look up an article to prove that traditional book stores are slowly dying. It’s sad, but it’s the reality of what is happening in the world of publishing. Books and bookstores are great. So is technology and capitalism, two things we know always win. Amazon has a clear monopoly on ebooks and e-readers, and no one wants to admit it. No one knows this more than authors, both traditional and indie. Both of my books are exclusively available on Amazon and always will be. I’ve read similar sentiments from many authors stating they’ve had no sales or minimal sales on iBooks and Nook (Barnes and Noble), to the point where they don’t even list their books on those sites. Smashwords, an exclusive indie book site is probably the second most popular ebook site for indie authors. This should also worry traditional publishers. Many writers, including several previously agented authors are going the self route because it’s easier, you get more creative freedom, and often more money unless there is an advance. From what I’ve gathered, advances are getting smaller or publishers aren’t even offering them.

What’s interesting to me is that the agents claim to want “fresh, unique writing” in whatever genre they accept. But, end up signing the types of books I mentioned earlier. Let’s face it, all literary agents want is to find the next Hunger Games and get their percentage of the earnings. What’s interesting about this is the books that are being traditionally published aren’t the most popular on Amazon. You know what sells on Amazon?

Also, horror, murder mystery, romantic suspense, and still, young adult. There are indie authors selling millions of copies I wish I could write a generic YA novel and start counting my cash, but I can’t. The old adage “write what you know” rings true. From my experience, you can’t write what you don’t read which is why you’ll never see me write an erotic romance novel or a YA novel. I write murder, weird relationships, anti-heroes, psychopaths, violence, sex, drinking,¬† swear words, gangsters, historical fiction, characters who have bad days, characters who have nosebleeds during sexual acts (SPOILER), characters who vomit up champagne outside of nightclubs (SPOILER AGAIN), and zombies who attack a wedding…you know, stuff I know and enjoy.

I like to say, without sounding like a dad trying to be cool that I keep it real. By real, I mean my characters who barf, get nosebleeds, and say “the f word” when they are being chased by zombies. Someone left me a bad review because a fictional character said the dreaded “f word”. Boohoo, a fictional character offended you! If you’ve offended someone with your writing you’re doing something right, it shows you’re passionate enough to tell the truth.

It blows my mind in a world where everyone is offended by almost everything, that we don’t get worked up by the gratuitous violence on television. It’s okay to show murdered hookers on CSI. It’s okay to kill kids and bash in heads with barbwire-wrapped baseball bats on The Walking Dead, It’s okay to do pretty much everything on Game of Thrones. If all of those things are okay, books should be no different.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to writing murder mysteries set in the 1930s that will probably offend someone.

My Book “Live Fast, Die Pretty” Is Now Up For Pre-Order On Amazon PLUS A SPECIAL TEASER COMING TUESDAY 1/17!

You can now add Kindle Scout reject to my resume. Oh well, such is the evil game of writing. Kids, don’t write books, it’s hard. Do drugs instead (LOL J/K). Still, editing your own work is still 100 times worse than the constant stream of rejection. After so long, you get used to it and become so dead inside and immune to it that even shoving ungodly amounts of French Toast Sticks down your word hole loses its charm.

I recently discovered the hashtag on Twitter #TeaserTuesday and thought I’d try it out in order to see (1. if it works, and (2. for disgusting shameless self-promotion which has pretty much become my life.

If you want to check out my book, you can here. Come back Tuesday for a teaser…IF YOU DARE! *insert evil laugh*

Be sure to bring your own French Toast Sticks, I ain’t sharing.