Creative Writing Tutorials

The name of a character says a lot about that character's personality and importance in the story. Here are some do's and don'ts:


  • Do use letters that evoke certain emotions. For example, "V" "K" and "R" names have a tendency to belong to strong characters, whether good or evil. Rick, Vanessa, and Kate are all strong names suitable for a strong character.
  • Do use names with Latin roots. One of the reasons "Voldemort" was such a great name for a villain is because it took parts of other words: "reVOLting" and "mort" which is French for "death". Whether or not it was intentional (and it almost definitely was), it worked.
  • Do use names that work with the time period and nationality of your character. A character in 1950 would probably not be named Allison, but the name Betty might be more likely. Similarly, it would be unlikely that a teenager in 2006 would be named Mildred or Maude. Keep this in mind when it comes to choosing a proper name for your character, as it can play an enhancing role in your story.


  • Don't give characters very similar names. While Game of Thrones is a fantastic series, the one issue with the characters' names is that Tywin and Tyrion are characters who often work closely with each other--people forget who's who, even though the characters are very different.
  • Don't give characters overly elaborate names. If you are writing a fantasy story, you can make up the characters' names, but keep them relatively simple. Naming a character something that only you can pronounce is not effective for the reader. Take a hint from Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Game of Thrones. Some of those characters have made-up names, but they are easy to understand and read.