For me, personal names (first, middle, and last) actually form a shape in my mind. I rely on this quirk of synethesia when coming up with character names for my stories. If the name feels jagged or frayed to me then it will likely sit uneasily with readers. I don’t necessarily throw these names away, as they can be good for identifying antagonists. But if it feels smooth, or round like a ball – easy to roll off the tongue – then readers are more likely to remember them and identify them as the protagonist without having to outright address those issues.
I think about my own name and how I might be perceived by others, because I’m certain I’m not the only one who has this quirk. When said quickly it sounds like my name is Sharon Negan, and people have often made this mistake. I am actually Sharon Egan. Lately I have found myself dropping my middle name into the equation for clarity and because I have come to like the shape of it. Sharon Marie Egan. It’s like a gently undulating plain, the kind I used to romp around as a child. What shape does your name have and how to do you decide on the shapes of your character’s names?