Are Character Names Important?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly series created by Rukky at Eternity Books and hosted by Aria at Book Nook BitsThe full list of March topics can be found here.

This week’s topic is about character names. Thanks to Aria for choosing my topic this week! Let’s get started!

Are character names important?

I think character names are very important. As a reader, if I’m going to get invested enough in a story to finish the book or continue the series, I need to have a main character I like, which includes everything from their personality, actions, thoughts, and their name.

Should they be very unique, or common enough that most readers will recognize and know how to pronounce them?

I am more drawn to unique character names. I do like when the name is something I can pronounce, but I would rather come across a name I’ve never seen before than a common name that I would easily forget. Apologies to everyone named Chris, Mike, Dave, Anne, Mary…but I forgot those names instantly unless the character in question is memorable in some way other than by name.

What makes a character name unique?

I think a unique name is one readers won’t have encountered in many other novels. Obviously I wouldn’t expect an author to go to great lengths researching character names, but I would think there would be a desire to stand out and craft a character name that is unique enough to set their story apart.

Do you like character names that have a deeper meaning tied to the story at large?

Yes! I love when a character’s name has a deeper meaning that is revealed in pieces over the course of the story. It builds intrigue within the story and adds layers to the character.

What do you notice about character names in different genres?

I have noticed trends in character names when it comes to some genre fiction. Contemporary romance novels often have very straightforward names, such as Hannah Brooks from The Bodyguard by Katherine Center. Historical romance novels often have very time period-specific character names, like Bathsheba Wingate, which is a real character name I encountered recently.

And of course fantasy novels tend to have the most unique character names out there. I’m looking at you Frodo and Samwise 🙂 I think it all comes down to an author wanting to be authentic to the genre in which they are writing.

What are some of your favorite character names?

A few that come to mind right off the bat are…

  • Gage Brewer (Scorched by Laura Griffin)
  • Cormoran Strike (Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith)
  • Haylin (The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman)
  • Collie (Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman

I’m sure there are others, maybe I’ll add them to the list as I recall them 🙂

What are some of your favorite characters with the same names?

I can’t think of any favorite characters that have the same names, so I must not have noticed many over the years.

Do you think character names are important? Tell me in the comments!

One thought on “Are Character Names Important?

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