Are there any of such rules applicable to this case? For instance, if a story has various character groups, should all characters from one group be named after gods from a single mythology?

2 Answers 2


As far as character naming goes, the sky's the limit. As the author, you dictate whatever rules you desire for naming trends.

If you want all the characters from Group A and Group B to have differring naming schemes, you could name one after mythological gods. The advantage is easily being able to separate (as a reader) the differing groups. I'm not likely to forget that Athena belongs in Group A with Zeus, Poseidon and Ares if Group B's names are Horus, Thoth and Anubis.

Personally (and this is not a hard-fast rule) I would restrain from using famous mythological names without reason. If your story is literally about these mythologies, then by all means! However, as a reader naming your main characters Obama, Trump and Biden would throw me off--I'd be trying to find the reason behind the naming schemes.

Like I said, the sky's the limit. But if you would like my advice, I'd say there are other ways of distinctly separating character groups asides from naming conventions, and if you do use mythological names, do it for a reason.

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    An easy alternative is in the answer below - use language specific names (ie greek, irish, hungarian) for characters from different backgrounds. If you use mythological names, they act as a kind of chekov's gun. Ie. your readers will expect your characters to closely match in some ways the myths or gods they're named after, and it's wrong to make a promise you won't keep (screencraft.org/blog/…). Language specific names can give the same flavor, but bring little to no baggage. Sep 20, 2023 at 15:13
  • @blueberryfields "...your readers will expect your characters to closely match in some ways the myths or gods they're named after..." Thank you for that explanation. Very important point!
    – Ben
    Sep 20, 2023 at 15:19

There are no rules but some conventions in Western fiction:

  1. Use names that your audience can pronounce.
  2. Use names that are distinct from each other (unless you intentionally want your readers to confuse two names).
  3. For different cultural groups, use different kinds of names between groups, and use the same kind of name within one group (e.g. give Celtic names to the fairies and English names to the humans).
  4. Avoid names that remind readers of real world persons or characters from other works of fiction or mythology, unless your story is about these persons or characters (but beware possible legal implications).

From these conventions follows:

Do not name your characters after gods from an existing mythology unless your story is about these gods and set within this mythology. If you want to use the names of gods regardless of this convention and the groups in your story are from different cultural origins (e.g. characters from different countries), it makes sense to keep names from different origins (e.g. Greek gods vs Japanese gods) to different groups. If on the other hand your groups are groups within one culture (e.g. one family vs another family) you can mix the god names among these groups however you want.

The conventions are different in non-Western fiction. For example, in Eastern manga it is common to use names from Western mythology.

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