Wyoming Arts Council

Advice for fiction writers: naming characters

Cheyenne fiction writer Joanne Kennedy wrote a recent blog post about the methods she uses to choose names for her characters, especially the villains:

I’ve been struggling with the antagonist in my new book. So has my protagonist, of course, but she seems to be winning. Up until today, I wasn’t doing so well.

It’s hard to write a villain without resorting to stereotypes. You set out to create a believable character, and before you know it, you’ve got a moustache-twirling, hard-eyed Bond villain, or a woman with all the depth and subtlety of Natasha in Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Serendipitously, Donald Maass addressed this problem in a workshop at the RWA conference. One of his suggestions was to find the character’s defining quality, and then think of its opposite and find places where she can demonstrate this quality as well.

Read the entire post at http://kennedysmyth.com/

Full disclosure: Joanne is a member of the Cheyenne Area Writers Group (CAWG), which also includes your humble blog editor, Mike Shay (me).

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