One of the best things about a book is the characters. They're the ones you fall in love with, the ones you grow to hate. You cry when they die. I cried whilst killing my first character, who just so happened to share her name with my future best friend's mom.
It got me thinking, how do authors name their characters? Why do we pick what we do, and is there a method to our madness? Well there is, and here are a few factors that go into the naming of fictional characters.
First for me, at least, is historical and geographical accuracy. I'm not going to have a character who lives in the Middle East named Laura Sue, unless she's a Southern transplant. And while no one's certain when specific names were invented, we can all agree that (probably) no one in the Middle Ages was named Zeke.
Second is ease of pronunciation. This is one of the reasons I hate the Gaelic language. It's gorgeous, I love listening to songs in Gaelic, but when Eabha is pronounced "Ava" I get a little annoyed. And don't even get me started on Caiomhe. It sounds more like "quiver" than anything else.
And sure, we look at how beautiful the name is, and how well it suits the character's personality, but one of the most important features of a character's name is what letter it starts with.
If I had a choice, all of my characters (all the girls, anyway) wound have names that start with vowels. Look outside of the Clouds Aflame series with Alynn, Aeryn, Edana and Adelaide and you'll find Elizabeth, Ellie, Azure, and Everly. Here's a mental conversation I have with myself whilst naming minor--unimportant minor--characters:
Writer me: Astrid is such a beautiful name. I'll name her Astrid.
Perfectionist me: But Alynn's name starts with A.
Writer: Okay, then. What about Brynn?
Perfectionist: Rhymes with Alynn. Can't do that.
Perfectionist: That could work...oh, wait, there's a horse named Honor. Scrap it all, we're going with Geirhild!
Writer: But I don't--
Perfectionist: You got a better idea, genius?
Writer: I do like Hilde.
Perfectionist: That's the most overused Norse name in all creation. Just Google Icelandic female names, for crying out loud. Oh, look--Brynhild. Problem solved!
What's your favorite name? Tell me in the comments below, and it might just turn up in one of my future novels! God bless you, dear reader, and have a wonderful day!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.