Characters & Names

In an attempt to do a better job at journaling, I’ve been reading Aimee Buckner’s Notebook Know How: Strategies for the Writer’s Notebook. One of the first things she talks about as a writing prompt, especially for young writers, is to have them explore their own names in their journals.
Everyone has special thoughts about his/her name–good or bad. I’ve always liked the Greek origin of my name, Cynthia, meaning goddess of the moon. It seems to fit me quite well–at least I think of myself as a bit goddess-like and a bit aloof. Yet I still try to provide light to others, even if I wax from dark to light –depending on my mood or the moon, of course.
We took great care in selecting both our sons’ names, but today I’ll explain Dan’s name–since he recently celebrated his 25th birthday. We chose his name to reflect what a special brother we knew he would be. We picked my dad’s dear brother’s name, Daniel, combined with my husband’s dear brother’s name, James. And our Daniel James has more than lived up to his two great names as both a wonderful brother and wonderful son. Happy Belated Birthday, DJ!!!
So too in your stories, it’s very important to pick your characters’ names with great care. Some names denote sunshine and happiness like Joy. This wouldn’t be a good name for the villian in your story.

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For aid in selecting your characters’ names, try a baby-naming book or an online name source like Or start keeping a list of interesting or unusual names. You’ll know exactly which character a name will fit. And the name will help make all the difference in creating a believable and memorable character.

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