I’ve been in the planning process for a series and it’s brought to mind the subject of names. Names are something we tend not to think too much about (at least I don’t), but yet they are so important because they can help shape the character.
When I first start planning a new story, I come up with a very general plot and a couple of adverbs to describe my characters. Then I’ll use the setting and character features to come up with an appropriate name. For example, in my Fallen Warriors series, I used biblical names to describe all of my fallen angels. Even though my angels aren’t biblical (they’re actually a race of beings existing in an alternate reality), it seemed fitting to give them these names.
What I’ve found to be really interesting is that once I choose a name it helps me to shape the character’s personality even further. When I chose the name Eva for the heroine in one of my stories, I knew she would be strong but flexible, open to change. A heroine in another story is named Tayla, and she’s tougher, more stubborn. So in a round about way, my character names I’ve chosen have actually helped me to strengthen my character’s personalities and firm down my plot.
For you writers, how do you choose your character names? Do you find that you attribute personality traits to your characters based on their names (or conversely, name them based on character traits you’ve given them)?