Friday, February 4, 2011

F/SF Character Names

I won’t suggest there is a style of names that works best, but Americans as a general rule don’t like multisyllabic names, which of course is why Robert gets called Rob, and Samuel, Sam. I’m also certain there are those readers who don’t even pay attention to the name. . . brush over them fast enough to recognize that in their cerebellum “Fi” represents Fidelaeyc.

My suggestion is, just as flowery language and alliteration slows down a reader, quirky names that an American would struggle to pronounce, may not be your best choice. You never want to slow down your reader.

Just for grins I went back and checked my project notes for a series of three high fantasy novels I wrote years ago. Here are the names I used. Keep in mind I wanted dwarfs to have a style of name different from trolls, different from humans—not atypical for any F/SF writer:

Adam Aedwin Angus Anthony Asr Avena Bick Birs Braes Coedwig Delia Dynves Eina Emenroth Estn Faeylin Gadewyn Gladys Glendin Hortense Ike Janding Jear Johanson Juliana Keen Kelhin Kincere Liad Loq Louisa Lrt Lucas Lydia Maertin Matilda Morelrod Morgan Morz Nyst Ong Pazeta Quel Rein Ren Riv Roger Rykn Rynauld Sar Tiff Timothy Torc Tordelshy Toun Verner Warak Whrl Wilbur Yoso

I broke my own “rule” on occasion. However, I strictly used very simple names for my main characters. While I recommend avoiding those tongue teasers, follow your heart.

Write Every Day!



  1. For fantasy and science fiction, I usually cut an author some slack for the clever names. They can add to the overall tone of the novel. However, I'm generally not a fan of the trendy names--Madison, Brooklyn, Alexandra. Those names are like nails on a chalkboard for me.

  2. If all names could be like Booboo and Cooter

  3. You have great tips for aspiring writers. I appreciate the help from blogs like yours.

  4. Guess I'm doomed. I tend to like three syllable names.