Monday, December 31, 2012

What's in a Name?

by S.G. Rogers

Is naming your characters a joy or a chore?

Charles Dickens had a way with names. Many of his characters had odd, but memorable monikers, such as Wopsie, Winkle, and Spottletoe. Some were more descriptive, like the bombastic Mr. Bumble or the festive Mr. Fezziwig. Author JK Rowling has fun with her character names, too. Gossip columnist Rita Skeeter connotes an annoying mosquito and the cruel Dolores Umbridge isn’t that far a stretch from the word umbrage.

Strangely enough, I find it easier to name secondary or tertiary characters than the main ones. Perhaps it’s because I feel some sort of pressure to make my main characters somewhat dignified, approachable, or attractive. Since that impression is subjective, it always takes me longer to decide which way to go.

Is it just me?

Even though naming my main characters is always a bit of a challenge, picking names for the remaining residents of my stories is a delight. My creativity is unfettered and my humor comes to the forefront.

In my latest fantasy release, Tournament of Chance, my protagonists’ names are the relatively straightforward Heather, Dane, and Joe. Some of the minor characters, however, have more amusing names like Gumm the troll, Towcheez the fairy, and the one-eyed chef, Piers. Fun details won’t save a weak storyline, but a strong plot can be further enhanced with a little imagination.

As a reader, do you feel memorable names increase your enjoyment of a novel, or are they a distraction? As an author, do you agonize over your cast of characters?

After all, a rose by any other name might just be fantastic.

~ S.G. Rogers

A hunter’s daughter becomes the spark that ignites a revolution—in time.

When a beautiful commoner enters the Tournament of Chance archery competition, her thwarted victory sparks a revolution in the oppressive kingdom of Destiny. Although Heather never believed the legends about the restoration of Ormaria, after three shape-shifting Ormarian wizards awaken from a long magical slumber, she joins their perilous quest to regain the throne. Heather battles vicious predators and angry trolls to free the wizards’ magic, but at a horrendous cost. She is unexpectedly torn from the arms of the man she loves and hurled back in time to fulfill a prophecy not yet written. The ensuing maelstrom tests Heather’s survival skills, wits, and endurance. Will she become an unwritten footnote in history, or can she trust the magic to lead her back to her one true love?

To read an excerpt from Tournament of Chance, please click HERE.

Learn more about S.G. Rogers on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

I'll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then...

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor
Amazon Author Page


  1. Honestly, I think the best part of being a writer is getting to pick names for your characters! Well done post, Suzanne! Best wishes with all your publishing endeavors in 2013! Cheers!

  2. Yes, naming characters can be both fun and come up with the perfect and memorable name.

    Your book sounds great. Reminds me of the Hunger Games.

    1. I enjoyed the conflict in Hunger Games very much! I think Tournament of Chance is quite a bit more hopeful and lighter.

  3. Naming characters can be interesting for sure. Had one book that just wasn't working...turns out the heroine didn't like her name. Woke me up in the middle of the night with the one she wanted. Yes, they do talk to us...LOL

  4. Thanks so much for featuring me on your blog, Sloane. Happy New Year to you.

  5. You're very welcome, S.G. I like people to meet fascinating authors. Happy New Year to you and yours!

  6. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Interesting blog Suzanne. I am struggling with my heroine.s name at the moment. I've changed it twice already and getting mighty confused myself . You are right about the secondary characters being easier - especially the real baddies!
    Happy New Year


    1. Have you ever had the misfortune to pick a character name you LOVED, only to find out somebody else has already used it in a similar story? Good luck with the names, Susan. I feel for you.