Predictable names for characters in your novel

How different are the names of characters in your novel?

Progress on Barrain has come to a standstill at present as I am concentrating on the novel for my critiquing group.

I gave Sherylyn the first 30,000 words to read last night.

It’s a difficult story to write in that I am trying to hide the true identity of one of the characters, to keep the reader guessing who it is until the end of the story.

“Well,” Sherylyn said at the end. “I know it’s not Vas.”

It wasn’t Vas, but I was trying not to give away who it was, so I asked, trying to sound surprised, “Why wouldn’t it be him?”

“Because of the name,” she said. “You would never name a hero Vas.”

She went on to remind me that we had a character named Vasst in Potion, a spineless group leader who turned traitor. We also have Vlad the Impaler in a story idea we have yet to write.

“Which leaves Hanna and Julan as the only two people it can be,” Sherylyn said. “And I don’t think it’s Julan because Julian was the bad guy in Shared Memories, so it must be Hanna.”

It was Hanna, in fact, but I had gone to a lot of effort to make Julan feisty and likeable, so that most readers would think it was her.

Flabbergasted is probably too strong a word to describe how I felt, but it did make me pause.

“Arrax is a hero, of course,” Sherylyn said. “Because his name starts with ‘A’. A lot of your heroes have ‘A’ names.”

Arrax is the hero. And yes, in prior books, both Alun and Aled have been heroes too.

I made a list of names and characters in our stories.

Good guys Bad guys
Aidan
Aled
Alun
Arrax
Blade
Caid
Grenn
Hamill
Hanna
Kalli
Kym
Mathers
Melanda
Rhetta
Roland
Scott
Tegan
Callen
Chaffen
Julan
Vanora
Van Wallah
Vas
Vasst

 

Sherylyn did have a point.

There were other similarities. Lots of ‘n’ and ‘l’ sounds in the names. One or two syllable names, particularly for the good guys. And definitely a trend to bad guys with names starting with ‘V’.

I have to rethink some character names.

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