Characters sell books. I’ve heard that phrase many, many times. While some may debate whether it’s fact or fiction, it made me want to break down characters to their basic parts. What makes a character likeable?
On April 22, I posted a survey on Poll Daddy to determine what character traits people automatically assign to individuals based on name alone. Out of context, without any “voice” or physical description, what comes to mind when you’re given a name at random?
Having a couple friends who are teachers, and bantering about this survey with the other GotYA bloggers, it’s been proven to me that certain, common characteristics are attributed to people with the same name.
For example, the name Brad. (If your name is Brad, skip ahead.) Talking with several individuals, it’s a common conception that Brad’s like the ladies…wink wink.
Please understand the purpose of this study was to play a type of word association, not to label people with certain names by certain character traits. This is by no means scientific. My sample size is 91. This was done to show that picking a name is just as important as giving your character his physical traits and dialogue. If you name him Barnaby and you want him to be taken seriously, you have an uphill battle ahead of you.
Use the baby name websites and look up name meanings, but the most important research you can do is to just ask other people what they think of the name you’ve chosen. Just because your main character shape shifts into a warrior grizzly, doesn’t mean you should name him Humbert based on etymology.
Five names, fifteen questions. Here are the results!