Naming Fantasy Characters: Ten Points to Remember by Terri Rochenski

A big welcome to fellow J Taylor Publishing author and Pens sister, Terri Rochenski on her blog tour for her book, Eye of the Soul (Pool of Souls #1)! One of my pet peeves about fantasy fiction is the too-difficult to pronounce names the authors often pick. I asked Terri to give us “Ten points to remember when naming fantasy characters, worlds, places, etc.” and she came through! I’ll let her tell the rest. Take it away, Terri!

eyeofsoulAnother tough tens list!! This blog tour is REALLY picking my brain. I’ll just go ahead and dive in, starting with the most obvious and hope others come to mind. Of course, though, these are things which make sense to ME – they certainly aren’t laws. Here we go …


  1. Make the name easy to pronounce. I think pretty much everyone would agree with me here. Name a MC Xerandothondon and I’ll doubtless not even attempt it. ‘X’ it would be!
  2. Naming more than two characters with the same starting letter tends to confuse me as a reader as well. Twins? Fine. Name them Jim & Johnny, but don’t have Jack, Jethro, and Jacob make an appearance later. They’ll all end up running together in my mind.
  3. I love it when a name carries meaning – whether of their character or the opposite. Name the preacher’s wife or local harlot Grace.
  4. The same goes for a world and its geographical locations. In Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, there are two mountain ranges cutting the world into three parts and both are aptly named The Boundary.
  5. Overly long names – try to avoid those unless the other characters refer to them with an easier nickname.
  6. Alliteration makes a name memorable. Bilbo Baggins is the first to leap to mind.
  7. For worlds, cities, or villages, I pick up my handy little world map book and look up not-so-well-known-by-me places, choose a unique name then change a letter or two – WITHOUT MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE TO PRONOUNCE!
  8. Epithets work great too. Gandalf the Grey / Gandalf the White.
  9. Don’t use websites that randomly generates a name for you. They’re dull and have no meaning whatsoever. I’ll admit to using them for inspirational purposes, though. Pretty sure I DID name a tavern after one suggested to me. *shame face*
  10. Lastly, this if fantasy, folks. Please don’t reference people and places from earth. Be creative. That’s the beauty of make believe.


Thanks Terri! Here’s more about her book, Eye of the Soul:

Back of the book blurb:


That should be Hyla’s first thought as her people are chained and imprisoned for no imaginable reason.

Instead, Hyla finds herself traveling through a land void of Natives, with human soldiers pillaging in desperate pursuit of her, and in search of the mystical Pool of Souls—home to the one man who can save her people.

Or so she believes.

Led by her faith in the deity Fadir, Hyla is met along her journey by Jadon—a human male and fierce King’s warrior, and his childhood best friend Conlin—one of the few Natives aware of his Fadir-given Talents.

Protected by Jadon, guided by Conlin, and with an unfailing belief in the purpose of her pilgrimage, Hyla carries on.

Like her, though, another searches for the Pool, and should he gain access first, everyone she loves, and everything she knows, could be lost.


Buy Here:


Terri Rochenski
Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling.Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not playing toys, picking them back up, or kissing boo-boos, she can be found sprawled on the couch with a book or pencil in hand, and toothpicks propping her eyelids open.

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3 thoughts on “Naming Fantasy Characters: Ten Points to Remember by Terri Rochenski

  1. “Xerandothondon the Grey” has a pretty nice ring to it… ooooor not. X)
    Good tips, Terri — yes, even #2, never mind that it can be painful, having to rename a guy after you’ve been thinking of him as “John” for so long, to help cut down on all the “J”s. (Don’t do like me, kids. Try to be aware of potential naming pitfalls early!)

    • Danielle, I did the same thing on this novel. At its end I thought, wth??? WHY did I do that & how did I not notice this sooner?? I changed one to something completely different.

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