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If those guys were named John or Mike, we might feel confused and disorientated.

Alternatively, the use of several names for a character can indicate authorial ambiguity to the reader.

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Agent Black is more kempt, septic and fits more with what we imagine a federal agent should be like.

I hope that readers subconsciously associate respectability with conformity.

Also, try to mix up the number of syllables in your character names. A character’s name should establish or at least suggest a defining trait of the character.

If you’re writing a superhero story, you may be able to get away with a wacky name like Captain Carnage or Devil Dog, like Superhero Nation does.

What strikes me about these stories is how they play into a new and pernicious narrative – the new standards for male beauty and how the quest to live up to them has been taking a deadly toll on men.

In his article The Rise and Rise of the Spornosexual, writer Max Olesker decided he wanted to explore what he saw as the new trend in young men – predominantly men in their early 20s, but many ranging up to their 50s – to sport bodies reminiscent of modern porn-stars, sports heroes and of course, movie stars.

However, giving effeminate and insufferable guys names like Percy is annoying and over-done. Finally, names evoke an emotional response from readers.

If your character is a hero, an excellent name will make readers feel he is heroic.

Typically, protagonists are active go-getters– otherwise the story would be pretty boring, right? When you name main characters, you should also consider whether reading the name 25-75 times an hour will annoy readers.

Because of the cold ‘br’ sound, Brian will probably grate readers more than Harry or Gary. Single-syllable names are fine, but not all are created equal.

Obviously, most writers have to be more subtle than that.

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