All posts by Aurora Springer

Aurora’s Tips for Naming Characters in Science Fiction Stories

by Aurora Springer

Starship Vista SP3 by Veronica Electronica

Some of the tips are recommended to make your writing more accessible to readers and apply to all genres, while others give suggestions for inventing names for characters from other worlds.

Tip 1: The names of main characters should be easy to pronounce in English. This suggestion will make your stories easier for readers to follow. An exception might be when you want to emphasize an alien’s differences from normal humans. For example, txolixi or 2xnl.

Tip 2: The main characters should have names look and sound distinct. Avoid using names like Sam and Sal, especially for a romantically involved couple. Again, following this tip will improve the readability of your story. An exception might be when you have a set of clones with similar names, or twins where you wish to confuse their identities. I prefer to indicate gender with the name, unless the character has a reason for an ambiguous name. Is Samantha called Sam because she is a feisty independent female? Does Salvatore hate Dali and prefer to be called Sal?

Tip 3: Alien names ought to look and sound unusual. When the aliens have two sexes, I prefer to use names with feminine or masculine sounds or endings, like Suzzaine (female) or Radekis (male) in my series Atrapako on Eden. You can use a similar designation for aliens from the same world or culture. The Zarnoths in my Secret Supers Series have names beginning with hard consonants, like the villains, Rigel Zentor, Croaker and the ambassador Zharkor. Names can reflect societal differences. Clones might be designated by numbers. Some siblings in my hive society of A Tale of Two Colonies are named Flower-one, Flower-two, etc.

Tip 4:
Names can be cues to the personality of characters or describe key features. For example, the Zarnoth assassin in my Secret Supers Series is called Karockis or Croaker. The giant planetoid in the Grand Masters’ Galaxy is called Amarylla after the flower. Amarylla is a pink, flower-shaped alien female. Names can add comic effects, like the villain, Mr. Sunshine, in Super Starrella.

Tip 5: You can use names derived from different countries or cultures to indicate diversity. You can find lists on the internet. I use names to suggest a multicultural society. For example, Lira Tong and Srinivasan are two friends of the heroine, Violet Hunter, in the Grand Masters’ Galaxy, and Veena Chandra is a friend of Estelle Wright, the heroine the Secret Supers Series.

Tip 6: You can create unusual names by modifying names of characters or places in real life or from other books. For example, I took the name Athos from the Three Musketeers, and adapted it into Athanor for the Griffin Grand Master.

Tip 7: Ask your readers to suggest names.

Tip 8: Keep a list of names you like or you think would make interesting characters.

You can find a list of Aurora’s books here.


Discover the Secret Supers Series

by Aurora Springer

This year, I published three novels in the Secret Supers Series. The third book, Gargoyle Hunt, releases on December 6th.


Danger is the last thing on Estelle’s mind when she visits the University of Oxenford for a summer course. But, mysterious thefts and shadowy figures spur her into action. With Toby five thousand miles away, Estelle and her winged horse must hunt for the culprits alone. Soon they are embroiled in a mixed bag of aliens and ancient magic. Toby’s unexpected arrival throws her into turmoil and spurs events into a climax. Under pressure to succeed, Toby is trapped in a web of deceit. The two supers have a week to catch the crooks and salvage his reputation.

The Secret Supers Series follows the adventures of Estelle Wright after she is transformed into a superhero in her freshman year at college. In the first book, Super Starrella, a weird serial killer is terrorizing the streets of Atalanta. Estelle must solve the murder mystery and discover her fellow supers, while pursuing her biology major and a couple of romantic entanglements. She scours the city at night, while overtly obeying her mom’s strict curfew.

Several lines of thought led to this series. I have a fondness for superhero/ine stories and one or two readers have accused me of a comic book style. So, why not create unique superheroes and throw them into adventures? My superheroes are aliens or genetically transformed humans like Estelle. Then, I had a vision of people flying through space on different animals. If you have read the intriguing book, Star Rider by Doris Piserchia, the influence of her animal steeds will be obvious. In my series, each super bonds with a telepathic animal companion. Ordinary Estelle Wright transforms into Super Starrella and rides her snarky winged mare, Rockette. As an added twist, Rockette can morph into a pigeon. The villains begin as comic characters with bombastic Mr. Sunshine in the first book, Super Starrella, and deadly Croaker in book 2, Starrella Falls. The third book, Gargoyle Hunt, has a subtle British twist and the distinction blurs between good guys and villains.

People say you should write what you know. So the main characters are students at Goldman University in Atalanta, a sunnier southern Gotham City. Many of the scenes occur in or near Atlanta where I live. One of my favorite scenes takes place at night in an alligator-infested swamp in Starrella Falls, Book 2. I am a professor at one of the local colleges. Most students are unaware of my fictional creations, although some of the professors have read my novels.

Gargoyle Hunt, Book 3, is set in Oxenford, the famed center of academia for centuries. Estelle is visiting St. Swithin’s College for a summer program when the appearances of spooky live gargoyles coincide with mysterious thefts. Yes, I have studied at Oxford and punted on the Cherwell River. Avebury stone circle is one of my favorite destinations with lunch in the village pub followed by a hike on footpaths to other Neolithic sites.

The first books are set firmly in contemporary Earth with the authorities stymied by alien killers and hi-tech hackers. In future books, I hope to take the characters on a series of adventures, inflicting different villains on Atalanta and other locations. It is not as simple as I had first imagined, however, since I have to describe aliens living among us, various superpowers and animal companions as well as researching police procedures for homicides.

I wanted a romantic arc. In Super Starrella, I introduced a wobbly triangle of Estelle and two attractive men with their own secret agendas. Toby Ryan, a hot biker with a cat tattoo on his bulging biceps, and handsome Mark Copper in military intelligence. When she meets them at Goldman University, Estelle suspects they are spying on her. She gradually uncovers Toby’s secret life during her first semester at college in the first book. She will learn more about the alien factions in the second book. In Starrella Falls, Toby and Estelle have separate adventures initially, but they work best as partners and tackle a succession of villains through the final chapter. The backlash from alien allegiances heightens the mystery in Gargoyle Hunt.

Secret Supers Series

Super Starrella, Book 1, 99c
Starrella Falls, Book 2, $2.99
Gargoyle Hunt, Book 3, on 99c pre-order for release on December 6th

Aurora Springer is a crazy scientist by day and invents adventures in weird worlds at night. She has a PhD in molecular biophysics and discovers science facts in her day job. Her fictional works are character-driven adventures and romances sprinkled with humor. Some of her published stories were composed thirty years ago. She was born in the UK and lives in Atlanta with her husband, a dog and two cats to sit on the keyboard. Her hobbies, besides reading and writing, include outdoor activities like gardening, watching wildlife, hiking and canoeing. Her books are listed here.

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