Developing Your Character

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #001.

What is his name?

Choosing a name is an essential step in the development of your character. A good name can come to embody everything your character is and represents. You can’t hear the names Indiana Jones, James Bond, or Darth Vader without immediately picturing the characters, their attributes, and what they stand for. 

Sometimes choosing a name can be arbitrary. In Avatar, there’s no indication that the name Jake Sully has any profound significance. 

Sometimes the name itself has significance. In The Hunger Games, Peeta’s name, as well as that of his country Panem, were chosen because of their connections to the themes of food and bread.

Sometimes a character’s name is representative of his nationality or the time period he lives in. In Captain America: The First Avenger, Schmidt’s name is indicative of the fact that he is a German scientist. In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf’s name is a reminder of the fantasy setting he lives in.

Sometimes a character’s name is chosen specifically because of his attributes. In Toy Story, Woody and Buzz have names directly related to the types of action figures they are. In Legends of Tomorrow, Rip Hunter’s name is a very tongue-in-cheek reference to his multi-dimensional profession as a hunter of rips in the space-time continuum.

The Writer’s Everything

This article, as well as many others, have been featured in previous issues of my writing journal, The Writer’s Everything, in which I, along with occasional guest contributors, provide essays, guides, encouragement, motivation, writing prompts, character bio development kits, and anything else that can help you turn your dream of becoming a writer into a reality.

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