Friday, 26 September 2014

Jack be nimble, Jack be — everything!

Have you ever noticed how many nursery rhymes, fairy tales and fables are about a boy named…JACK.

Think about it.

There’s Little Jack Horner. Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack and Jill. Jack is even the name of the character in the next Superman Duffy book—Beneath the SOIL. (Coming this October!)

What’s with all the Jack’s?

I started thinking about it, and maybe it’s just that writers have a hard time coming up with original names for characters.

When I’m writing a story, I can go through about a dozen names before one actually sticks. Why? Well, the character’s name has to suit his personality, right? (Come on, doesn’t Jack sound like a mischievous little guy? Hint: In Beneath the SOIL, he is!)

But let’s say you don’t want to name your character Jack.

Here are a few tips from writers I dug up about naming characters. Maybe they’ll come in handy for you:

1. Make the name age-appropriate. Sure, Rose was a popular name a long time ago, but is it still popular? And is it a good name for a 10-year-old girl?
2. Science fiction names don’t have to sound alien. Same goes for fantasy—as much as I admire G.R.R. Martin’s imagination, Khaleesi is a pretty weird name. Sometimes, if I can’t pronounce a name in a book I’m reading, I make up my own!
3. Steer clear of over-used names. Like, Jack, I guess. Ha ha.
4. Watch out for names of well-known personalities—Oprah, Hannibal, Romeo.
5. Have fun!

Hm. Come to think of it, it looks like I have some character names to think about. I’m writing about a young boy who likes running, going on adventures, and hanging out with Grandpa at the farm. Got any name suggestions for me? <grin>

Okay, gotta jet!

— Chase "Superman" Duffy

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