Sense and Serendipity: Some Ways Fiction Writers Choose Character Names
Copyright (c) 2011 Maney Publishing
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
In order to find out how and why authors choose names for characters, published sources were reviewed and semi-structured interviews were conducted with four authors of fictional works for children and adolescents: Shannon Hale, Brandon Mull, Michael O. Tunnell, and Chris Crowe. From analysis of interview transcripts, analytic works, and articles by other contemporary authors, five themes emerged: (1) These authors recognized the importance of character names, and they made conscious and deliberate choices. (2) They wanted names to be easily accessible to their readers. (3) They were concerned that names fit the characters' personalities, backgrounds, and actions. (4) They went to a variety of sources for accurate, appropriate, and interesting names beyond their own background, imagination, and energy. (5) They chose names that had personal significance for them, some related to personal acquaintances and some conveying personal humor. Rather than examining each theme in depth, this article presents an overview of these five aspects of choice.
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