Name Theory: Luke and Gabe and Remus, Oh My!

One thing that naming characters has helped me with is thinking more like a genre reader.

Genre readers read a lot of their favorite genre, whether that is Romance, Mystery, Paranormal, or Sci-Fi. They have seen it all, so to speak.

While writers may be working on their first (or fifth) Werewolf novel, readers have read 50 such novels and have seen many plot points and names repeated.

This is one of the flaws of naming characters based on the name meaning, such as naming Werewolves with names that mean wolf or moon: The readers may have already read about 5 or 10 other characters with that same name!

(I would especially point out that if your character only becomes a Werewolf by chance, and not by heredity, that his or her parents would probably not have named him or her Romulus, Luna, or Vixen.)

While writers should keep with some naming conventions, such as giving sexy names to a Romance Hero or -Man names to superheroes, they should stay away from the pit falls of naming their characters the same old names.

Do a little research. Read widely in the genre you are writing to see what other writers have done (and what readers have already read). Read online forums where readers talk about their favorite stories (and names) or the things that annoy them, so you can learn what “works” and what doesn’t. Take some time to make sure that the details you love, are something that your readers will love too.

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