How to Find the Right Character Names \\ Writing with Marrill 002

A character’s name can literally make or break a story.

Of course, a good name can’t guarantee you have a decent story, but a bad name could make a reader want to throw your book into Tartarus.

No pressure or anything.

I also know that it can be hard to write about a character that you can’t find a proper name for. So today my post is about…

A) Some tips for finding a good name and B) a few pieces of advice as to how to not annoy the reader. Both of these are essential (in my very unprofessional opinion).

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Finding the Name

1) The right letter

If you have any idea what your character is like, this shouldn’t be too hard. Do you want their name to have a harsh sound? Try names like Tristan or Krysta or Astrid. Or do you want their name to have a softer sound? Like Celeana, Rowan or Annabeth (hint: names that end in A usually sound softer).

Another way to do this is to find a letter you know you want the name to start with. If you like names that start with M, then you’ve got a place to start.

If you don’t do one of these, it can be overwhelming to look for names.

 

2) Name Generators

Some of these work about as well as a teapot would. But there are some decent ones out there as well! I use these on occasion, although mostly for places\settings rather than for character names. They also work great at jump-starting your ideas.

 

3) Google

I’m going to be honest: most of my name searches start with a google search something like “Girls names that start with [insert letter from step one]”. It’s convenient! And it also helps if you’re looking for more ethnic names. At the very least, it gives you a place to start.

 

4) Real-life inspiration

I’m not one to use the names of people I know for my main characters. A cameo? I might throw it in for fun. But if the character appears more than twice, I can’t use anyone I personally know.

BUT this doesn’t apply (for me) to internet friends\people I follow. More than once I’ve seen someone say “I wish I saw more character with my name” and so I write down the name somewhere (screenshots also work) and I’d say 8\10 times this is an easy and effective solution.

 

5) Literally just put letters together

This one can happen by accident, but if nothing else works then just pick a word and replace some of the letters with, like, and X or add an A on the end and it usually makes a pretty cool name.


Remember the Readers…

Please don’t write names that are pronounced totally different than how they’re spelled. It makes it hard to remember and also it’s just plain confusing.

Pronunciation guides save lives! If you have any control over this, then I promise the reader will be thanking you profusely.

For both your sake and the sake of the reader, try not to use names of already beloved characters. For two reasons:

ONE, these names are often already overused. And TWO, the reader already has fond memories attached to this character. So if you use it, you’ll probably just be reminding the reader of a DIFFERENT book, which is beside the point.

Of course, most names are fine. But I would avoid 99% of what’s in the Harry Potter series, and also the name Simon because that one seems to just come up everywhere. Also Emma.

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What are some of your favorite character names? What’s your way of finding the names for your characters?

-Marrill

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Going Viral \\ Spoiler-Free Review

Going Viral (Potion, #3)Title: Going Viral (The Potion Diaries #3)

Author: Amy Alward

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Genre: Fantasy

Format: UK paperback

Spoiler Review: To be posted


Synopsis

Due to spoilers, I’m not going to be putting the synopsis here, but if you want to view it, you find it on the Goodreads page.

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Book Unhaul \\ 8 books that are no longer on my shelves

I don’t usually unhaul books. Usually, I tell myself I’ll eventually get to them, or that I like the cover too much to get rid of it (there is Bookstagram to consider…). However, lately, I’ve been in a bit of cleaning kick, especially when it comes to my bookshelves.

I’ve been trying to read all the unread books on my shelves instead of buying more, and while doing that I’ve realized just how many books I’m not planning on opening. So throughout the year, I’ve been slowly collecting books to donate.

And then you guys voted on an unhaul for today’s post and now here we are.

Books I’m donating:

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What I Look for in YA Friendships \\ do they even exist??

I like friends.

Not the show – I’ve never seen it – I mean two people loving each other platonically and being supportive. It’s one of my essentials to a perfect story!

I was thinking about this the other day and I realized I don’t have any YA friendships to gush about. The only thing close is the Argo II crew from Heroes of Olympus (which is an excellent series but technically middle-grade).

And what irritates me the most is the fact that I haven’t come across any friendships in YA fantasy books! A lot of fantasy – and even contemporary – books have “friendships” and not friendships. What’s the difference? You ask.

 

Well, allow me to tell you my basic rules for fictional friendships:

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A Court of Frost and Starlight \\ Spoiler-Free Review

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. MaasTitle: A Court of Frost and Starlight (ACOTAR #3.1)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Hardcover

Spoiler Review: To be posted


Synopsis

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

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How to find the right Point Of View (POV) \\ Writing with Marrill 001

Hello Book Ravens! 

Starting a story is hard. There’s no way to really get around it; in order to write a story, you have to start somewhere. Including, but not limited to, finding the right point of view.

I know a lot of my writer friends don’t stress about this – they usually choose which POV they prefer – but for me, it’s an essential part of the story and not so easy to figure it out.

I’m assuming some of you agree, so I have for you all a list of different POV options and how to decide which fits your story juuuuust write (get it? Write? Like right?).

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The Cruel Prince \\ Spoiler-Free Review

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)Title: The Cruel Prince (Folk of Air #1)

Author: Holly Black

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Hardcover (Owlcrate Exclusive)

Spoiler Review: Coming soon


Synopsis

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
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A Map for Wrecked Girls \\ Spoiler-Free Review

AMFWG.Review.2018.png

A Map for Wrecked GirlsTitle: A Map for Wrecked Girls

Author: Jessica Taylor

Publisher: Dial Books

Genre: Contemporary, Adventure

Format: Hardcover

Spoiler Review: coming soon


Synopsis

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.

Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart.

To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?

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