Why Character Names are So Important

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We’ve posted a lot about naming your characters. (In fact, Peggy Bechko’s column on the subject was hugely popular here on TVWriter™ just last week.) And there’s a reason for that.

In modern culture, the first thing we do when we meet somebody is ask, “What do you do?” Because when we like to think that knowing the kind of work a person does enables us to actually know the person as well.

In aboriginal times, the first thing people did when they met somebody was ask, “What’s your name?” Because knowing a person’s name really did give us a hell of a lot of information.

Names still do that. It’s a primitive brainstem thing. We tend to become the kind of human beings our names tell us to be. What? You think we’re nuts? Well, at least these guys agree. (Sorta.)