Choosing names for characters

I have a theory that certain rhythms and syllable combinations work better for different character types in a novel. This theory is not based on any in depth psychological studies, nor is it drawn from an understanding of cognitive behaviour. It’s just a hunch (albeit a hunch that I follow for all my lead characters). It’s an extension of the idea that people are disproportionately convinced of arguments that come in threes.

So, names of the good guy main protagonist in a Pigfender story will have three syllables. To be precise they will have a two syllable first name and a single syllable last name.

For example:

  • Jas-on Bourne
  • Brid-get Jones
  • Rob-in Hood
  • San-ta Claus
  • Sher-lock Holmes

Other names make good ‘everymen’ or side characters… Contrast the blend in nice-guy ‘Clark Kent’ with his heroic alter ego ‘Sup-er Man’, or consider why ‘James Bond’ is a suitable name for a spy, but when his name is ‘Bond-James Bond’ he’s a hero.

I also award myself bonus points for using a first name that can be shortened to a single syllable when you want to humanise. This is why I recycle David / Dave and Michael / Mike a lot.

Okay it’s a load of old rubbish, but it’s my game so humour me.