Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Winner “Best Character Names” of the Month!

Ideal Name Selection Makes “A Family for Faith” Especially ‘Reader Friendly’!

“A Family for Faith”
Missy Tippens

Many people like myself ‘sight’ read names. That means we just look at the name, as if it were a picture of the character, and move on. We don’t pronounce the word to ourselves. We don’t even read the word. This makes for fast and easy reading unless the author selects names that begin with the same first letter.

For example: “Richard” and “Robert” are very similar to the sight reader. These two names are like having two actors, who look very much alike, featured in the same TV drama. The viewer has trouble remembering who is who. That’s not good.  It takes away from the story and it reminds the viewer that he or she is watching a TV drama. This is also true when reading.

When I come upon a “Richard” and “Robert” (and I have in fiction) I must stop each time and try to determine who is who. I must also then try to distinguish how the two men differ in characteristics. I would not have to do this if they had more disparate names. If the characters were names "Walt" and "Vince" for example, everything about “Walt” would only be remembered as being about “Walt” and everything about “Vince” would only be remembered as being about “Vince”. I would not be getting these characters characteristics mixed up.

“A Family for Faith” has what I feel is the perfect selection of names. Notice:

Main Characters:

Hero: Gabe
Heroine: Faith
Daughter: Chelsea
Son: Ben
Dead wife: Tina
Ex Husband: Walt

 Secondary Characters:


Tertiary Characters:

Kelli Lyn

“A Family for Faith” is a very easy book to read. I never had to reread a paragraph to determine which of  two possible meanings was intended by the author.

Making books easy to read is a blessing to the reader and it definitely enhances the reading enjoyment the book provides. Not all authors do this  however.

When I asked one author why her three main characters all had names beginning with “C” she said that “I tried to change them but the characters would not let me.”

I thought this was amazing until she added: “I was so worried that my editor would complain but I slipped the names by her.”

This is a true story and to shows how some authors would rather keep characters happy than readers. Someone should these authors that characters don’t’ buy books!

"A Family for Faith" Now Available on the Kindle.


  1. Oh, Vince, I'm dying laughing here at the three characters beginning with "c"...

    Love you, big guy. You know how to gently remind us that it's all about the reader. Which is as it should be.

  2. Was I named after the dead wife? That's all I want to know.

  3. Hi Tina:

    Of course you were!

    I know that because Tina was the perfect wife. He can’t get over her. I’m sure if she were a bad dead wife, she would not have been named Tina.

    BTW: I just noticed that I’m not on the list and I was in the book! : )

    It’s now fixed. And in Red!

    Be sure to tell Walt, Audra, and Hannah they are in there too. I’m engaged to Natalie and I’m a good guy. :)


  4. You got it!! That good guy is named after you, Vince. I hoped you'd read and notice! And Tina, unfortunately, I stole your name for the dead wife. But like Vince said, she was on a pedestal. :)

    Vince, thanks for reading!

  5. lol. You guys are too funny! And Vince, I agree on picking the perfect names. Great story, Missy, and wonderful choice of names.

  6. Thanks, Pam! Actually, I took an online class with Susan Wiggs (one of my favorites!), and she gave us a chart to keep track of names. It's a page with the 26 letters of the alphabet in boxes. You can keep track of names that way and make sure you're not doubling (or tripling) up. :)

  7. Hi Vince and Missy,

    I always end up having to change a name when I'm in the middle of the book. Usually it's a minor character. Even though I try to keep from having two similar names or two names that start with the same letter, one always slips under my radar.

    Love the idea of the alphabet in boxes, Missy!

    Love your writing and this book! :)

  8. Hi Debby:

    I really appreciate authors who make reading easy for the readers.

    Thanks for commenting and I must say that I believe you wrote the perfect novella with “Yule Die”. Do you have plans to write another one?


  9. Hi Ruth:

    It is funny about the three C's but it drove me crazy. (I mean couldn't the author at least have changed 'Carl' to 'Karl'?)

    BTW: She was not a Seeker. The author was one of the best Harlequin Medical Romance authors and she was very nice. I mentioned the three “C’s” on a blog and she came forward and said, “You’re talking about me, aren’t you?” That’s when she told the ‘rest of the story'. (I didn't 'out' her.)


  10. Hi Pam:

    Thanks for coming by. I think names are very important. I always look for the 'meaning' in names and conflicting meanings can be a distracton.

    However, from a reading point of view, please give me names that are easy to read and remember in the context of the story.

    I simply cannot read SF novels where all the names cannot be pronounced. (For example: Xybbc and Lrmmc.)