Most writers underestimate the importance of choosing the right names for their characters. While I don’t recommend spending all of your time researching names instead of investing it in actually writing your scenes. Spending some time researching names is a good idea.
Think about how much time people spend researching names for their unborn children, well if writers spent even a fraction of that time into naming their fictional babies, it may benefit them more than they think…
Main characters with “common”, mainstream names may not be remembered as much as a character with an unusual name. Think Forrest Gump, Lester Burnham from ‘American Beauty’ or if you’re wanting to stay on the conservative side, you can give your character a traditional name, but have him/her a memorable nickname, one that they’re referred to more often as. -Such as Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan from ‘The Help’ or Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding from ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.
Not only will a unique name make your characters more memorable to the reader, it may just be what it takes to make your story stand out from the rest.
Another reason to consider when putting thought into naming your characters is that it adds personality to your character. As researchers say, names really do shape children, a girl with a unisex name is more likely to be stronger and more authoritative than a girl with a feminine name. So the name you give your characters will indeed shape them, they will effect how the reader perceives them. Choose a name that you feel would be more suitable to your character’s traits, if in doubt, look up the meanings of names as they can sometimes give you insight into where the name derived from and how suitable it may be to the background you are trying to achieve for your character.
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The Pulsar Sci-Fi Screenplay Contest is an international screenplay contest dedicated exclusively to Sci-Fi. We also accept Sci-Fi original pilot and existing show teleplays. Contests run every 6 months.