Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

More on Naming


Lesson learned #1: Do not post potential names on journal for advice, even if sorely tempted.

You all had such good reasons for not liking the names I posted, that now I don’t like any of them! But maybe I posted them in the first place because none of them were really speaking to me anyway. None of them were really right.

Lesson learned #2: Character names can change the whole fabric of your work.

Last night, I took the first few paragraphs of the novel and starting switching in names for the heroine and her sidekick. I used my Latin-root names first, and some modern ones like “Zander” and “Maris.” Then, I started switching in Hawaiian names.


I’m not used to Hawaiian names. Suddenly, the book felt alien. “Peleke” and “Hoku” are a world apart from “Zander” and “Kaia” or “Merris.” They’re not a part of the cultural history in which I have steeped my whole life. They felt exotic and strange. I could tell that if I used them, I’d be thinking about my characters in wholly different ways than I would if they had regular American suburbanite names.

But! I want the kids reading this to be able to associate themselves with the characters.
But! Maybe it’s good if they learn to associate with kids who, at first, seem like other.
But! I want them to want to read the book.
But! I’m spending waaaay too much time worrying about this stuff.

Have I mentioned that I’m an over-thinker? :-D

About the author

Jenn Reese
By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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