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  • Writer's pictureSteve Bynoe

What's in a Name?

Katniss Everdeen, Sam Spade, Natasha Rostova, Arya Stark, Ethan Hunt and Peter Parker are just some of the names of iconic characters in the history of literature and pop culture. There are several methods to crafting character names and there really is no single way to go about it. Some authors use alliteration; others craft monikers that reflect a character's personality, while a few choose names that are completely nondescript.

While there are authors that specialize in creating names that crackle with energy or roll off the tongue like an infectious jingle, sometimes a name simply takes on a life of its own. Ian Fleming once remarked that he crafted James Bond as "an extremely dull, uninteresting man". In fact, he took the name from a real life ornithologist - possibly the furthest thing from a dashing British spy as you could get. It's ironic that after 50+ years of novels and blockbuster films that the name James Bond is now considered anything but dull or uninteresting.

For Chronokari Alpha I wanted protagonists that had everyday but modern names. Miles Ellerton and Derrick Brant weren't my first choices though and my decision to change them came about after reading an interview from the writers of the TV show Supernatural. In the interview, one scribe mentioned having settled on a name for one of the secondary characters and realized that there was an actual person with the same name in the city the episode was taking place. To avoid any conflicts they changed the character’s name. Although Gateway, Ohio is a fictional town, Miles and Derrick’s original names did come up in Google searches. Following the Supernatural writers’ lead I decided to craft new first and last names for my protagonists.

Creating names can be a fun and challenging exercise. It can also be a frustrating one. No matter which path you choose to create the next great character name, remember that it’s ultimately up to your character’s exploits and the audience that will determine if your choice was a good one.

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