Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's in a Name?

Writing Exercise: Write down a list of 10 names and beside each one write a brief description of the person behind that name. Continue reading below for more on character names.

Character names are very important to stories. A name should fit the personality of the character. The sound of a name can cause the reader to associate a trait (ex. strength, weakness, silliness, joy, intelligence, etc.) with the name. Carefully consider the naming of a character, as if you were naming your own baby (because you are!).  Below are some names.  Say them out loud. What type of personality trait does each name evoke?

Abraham              Bubba               Cai                Daishiro               Elmo              Fabian                  Gabriela            Lulu             Mr. Reich             Lily               Walter                  Xavier               Johnnie        Higgenbotham    Miss Bless

One of my favorite character names is Arno Weed from Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer.  Leave a comment with your guess at what Arno looks like and what his personality is like.  Look for my comment under the post to find out Arno's real description.


  1. Arno - a bean pole with brown hair, black rimmed glasses, button down dress shirt, high water pants with suspenders. I picutre Arno as a very technical person with lots of intelligence. He is shy and quiet.

  2. I think of John Steinbeck's characters from East of Eden - Aaron Trask and Cal Trask. The novel retells the story of Cain and Abel from the Bible. Cal - Cain; Aaron - Abel

    What do you think of the name - Priscilla Poppy? She's a character in my book and I'd be interested to see what images her name evokes.

  3. Brianna, I think that Priscilla Poppy is a petite, somewhat silly socialite, who loves to wear vibrant colors. She is close to 80 years old and has deep wrinkles. She dyes her hair blond and wears bright red lipstick. She is forgetful and no one takes her seriously, but she has a heart of gold. She has a fru fru dog named Pierre. Am I close?

  4. Arno Weed Character from Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer --
    Arno is 81 years old. He is a Maine lobsterman who owns a small island and his own boat, "Break of Day". He likes to garden. To make extra money, he sells NO DOZ to fisherman. Here are quotes from the book that describe him:
    "...his hands were rough and there was stubble beneath his chin and he smelled like fish."
    "He was poor and didn't talk much."
    "...khaki pants and long-sleeve shirt...he wore an old pair of brown sneakers."
    "The top half of his skull was as bright and translucent as a freshly cut onion."


I appreciate your comments! I try to respond to each one.