Choosing Character Names

Tales from the Forest of the Hooting Owl

One of the questions authors are always asked is, 'How do you come up with character names?'

Well, for all the forest characters in Tales from the Hooting Owl, the idea is that they come from first impressions at birth. Here are some of the reasonings behind them (a couple of these are from books that aren't yet published as I write).

Picture of Sprout the goblin, from Tales from the Forest of the Hooting Owl
Sprout's hair sticks up from his head.


Fans of Sprout will already know that his hair sticks up from his head, like seeds sprouting from the soil. (See picture.)

Long Tooth

Sprout's uncle Long Tooth had a particularly long tooth when he was born. It's gone now, of course. Goblins go through many sets of teeth in their lives, on account of all the chewy bugs they eat.

Trunk Face

Do I need to say anything about this one? Yes, the forest's resident troll looked like a tree trunk when he was born.

Th'Blue and Th'Queue

I decided that I wanted the hooting owl names to sound a little like the hoot of an owl, so I restricted myself a little, but Th'Blue is so called because his feathers have a bluish tinge and Th'Queue, because she hatched second.

Pickle Lily

This persistent sprite was named after a plant in the Forest, the Pickle Lily, which is purple, just like Pickle Lily's skin. Of course, it's also a pun. I love to groan at puns.

Sun Light

All royal faeries are named light, but they also have another part to their name, which is largely determined by how bright they are when born (in various ways). This means that their names often have similarities to the weather.


Cabbage, a female goblin, was named because her hair looks like the leaves of a cabbage.


I hope you've found this insight useful. I'll probably do another couple of posts like this for other series soon. In the meantime, you can find out more about Tales from the Forest of the Hooting Owl here.

March 2019