Character-Naming Advice from 1922

Here’s more character naming advice, though this excerpt is nearly 100 years old and refers specifically to photoplays.*

While “Lizzie Snaggs” may be the very loveliest of heroines, your audience will doubt this and wonder just when she is going to turn into a comedienne; yet with a fitting cognomen, no one would doubt her position of heroine.

The reason for this is that audiences have become accustomed to having the names suggest the character of the various people in the story. An example of what not to do is the name given the villain in a short story I recently read. He was a man with a reputation for killing people and his chief aim throughout the story was to poison two of the main characters; and the author called him Goodman!

[…]

Another thing to remember about naming the people in your photoplay is that no two names should be similar, as this would be confusing to the audience.

*”Photoplay” was an early word for a movie, which itself is a shortened form of the phrase “moving picture.”

Source: Palmer, Frederick. “Hints to Scenario Writers.” Movie Weekly 15 Apr. 1922: 22.


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