For starters I’m gonna put it out there that a cool name =/= a cool character!!! You got that? If people were to put more time into fully developing their character instead of trying to make them cool and edgy, this site (and every other writing site ever) would be much better. Just because your character’s name is Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way, doesn’t mean you get to ignore everything every character tutorial has ever said and still have a decent story.
Think, “Would a parent give their kid this name?”
A simple question to ask yourself, if the answer is no, then I suggest you find a new name.
Oddly spelt name
Examples: Jayk, Alix, and Haylee (Note: I have a Sim named Haylee because I couldn’t figure out how to spell Hayleigh).
Just, no. These are not okay, and are one of the lowest forms of trying to make a character seem cool. In fact, it’s just plain lazy. It would also really suck for your character to have to always correct people whenever their name is written.
Very looooooonnng names
Examples: Lucas Edward Jackson Way, and Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way.
These are not that great. What kind of character needs 15 middle names (Okay, there are a few exceptions, like royalty)? Really, how do you expect us to remember all that?
Naming the character for a trait
Examples: Kitsune (Fox) for a fox girl, Neko (Cat) for a cat girl, Hikari (Light/fire) for an Uchiha (Note: I had a Mary Sue named Hikari).
A lot of people will say that it’s a great idea to name your character after their personality or something about them (If your OC is a Warriors cat, naming them after their pelt color is fine). But I say LOL, nope. It’s very cliché at this point in time.
Did your parents know what your personality would be when you were born? Did they know what you’d do with your life? No, they did not. You were just a little baby, and all you did was scream, cry, and wet your pants, so why is your character any different? It’s understandable that a parent could be wishful and name their child Honesty or Takashi (Means warrior) in hopes that they’d live up to their names. As for Neko and Kitsune, why would the parents name their child after what they are?
Similar twin names
Examples: Katie and Cattie, Jake and Jace.
I don’t hate this one as much as the others, as it is actually done in real life. But please, for the sake of the reader, if you feel the need to do this, make the names different enough so they won’t be constantly mixed up (No, that is not cute).
A Japanese name for a non-Japanese character
Examples: Sakura for an English Princess, Abu for a Chinese warrior, and Ruby for a Native American girl.
Please note that I am talking about all characters with names from different cultures, not just Japanese (That’s just the most common one). For some of these, the characters parents wouldn’t be aware of the other cultures in the first place, so it just makes no sense. People usually give their children names from their own culture, so the only way a character could really have a different one was if they were adopted (This counts as belonging).
I wasn’t gonna put this, but I decided it needed to be there.
Examples: Hawk, Q-tip, etc.
Nicknames are good because they can have nothing to do with realism and be really cool or bad. Keep in mind that a character with a really short name would not need a nickname (Unless it was a code name or more of a taunt) because everybody can remember their names. Nicknames are more for characters like Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way (May I suggest Mary Sue?).
If you character has a nickname, it’s best to tell how they got it. Are they called Gabe because Gabriel is too hard to remember? Or are they called saltine because they eat a ton of crackers?