When developing an idea for a novel, one of the first things that comes to mind is the main character(s). Boy or girl? Fearless or hesitant? Smart or dim-witted? Thrust into a heroic position, or steps into it willingly? Such attributes will drive the story, for the characters make decisions based on their characteristics.
Once the attributes are figured it (or maybe even before), a big question becomes: what should I name these characters?
You have your standard names, of course: Tom, Nancy, Jennifer, and so on. You also have your make-believe names which often reside in fantasy novels. But most names begin somewhere. Most have an origin, and most have a meaning. Therefore, this meaning is something author's can consider when naming characters, to add a layer of depth to personality and purpose within the novel.
An example that instantly comes to mind is Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games. Peeta Mellark, the Boy with the Bread, is named after peeta bread. Cato, the District 2 tribute, is named for a Roman politician and general who wrote the first history of Rome. Every single character name has a meaning or association that fits its character and adds a level of interest.
Characters in our novels have history, but so do their names. Whether it be a specific meaning or a relation to another person or object, choosing the right name is essential for a piece of fiction. And looking up etymology (name meanings) can be really fun for the readers, too!
So even if there's a name you want to use just because it sounds cool or seems to fit a character, considering researching the name's meaning and history. Make sure the etymology fits with your view of the character, and it will add an extra dimension to your characters and story!
Have a great weekend everyone,