Names help make the audience feel like they’re on your page, that they get what’s going on.
We will keep John and Hideyuki apart in our minds, but maybe not Clinton and Cliff (or Kevin).(Given Marvel’s and DC’s legal departments, publishers definitely have some reason to be cautious).In the grand scheme of things, changing a character’s name is easy, so a publisher will probably not reject you over that IF the story is otherwise publishable.Character names serve several important roles, like differentiating characters and evoking an emotional response from readers.Readers use names to tell characters apart, obviously.For example, my Agent Black is also known as the Manhattan Mangler.If I gave you only one of those, you would probably reach a different conclusion about how just, unique and proper he is.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.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.