The Importance of Names

Names are important. Whether you're naming a place, an artifact, or a person.

In books, in particularly fantasy books, they are even more important to get right.

Because just like your setting and tone sets a story's theme, so do names. If you have an epic fantasy novel, with a world named Illinova, a protagonist named Rebecca simply wouldn't work. Nor would Paul. Or Hector.

To some, choosing a name for a character is much like naming a child - the name is one you like for whatever reason.

But your character isn't your child. He/She isn't living in Los Angeles or NYC. They're living in a fantasy realm full of evil villains with magical powers.

It's obvious, you might say. You don't need to tell us, Captain.

But I do.

I just recently read a fantasy novel from a big-six publisher. The world had a name I couldn't pronounce. But the characters? They had simple modern names - Rachel and Jared and such. You might be able to guess which book I'm referring to - I know I'm not the only one who found it wrong.

And it irked me. Throughout the whole book, I simply could not fully enjoy it because of those names. It made me think the author was lazy. Or simply not creative enough.

Writing a scifi? A fantasy? A contemporary? Choose names that fit your setting. Don't let Martinez into a Tudor castle. Don't place Ophelia in a Shu Han palace.

If you're having trouble finding a name, Thor beautifully details the Art of a Name for us 'mere' mortals.

Writing is an art. Strive for a masterpiece. Don't stop at a sketch.

-Captain America

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