Names

How much do you think about names? Still working on a compromise with my husband about the baby’s name, but the subject comes up often for me when I choose characters.

One thing that holds me back is I don’t want characters with the same name as my child, so I reserve names in hope that I might use them for the baby until I realize I’ll never talk my husband into it.

When the subject comes up with other writers, I learn how they look at characters differently than I do. Something in my head has to match the character’s personality with my feelings about the name. (Though this doesn’t always mean I hate the names I give characters I don’t like!) Some use random name generators to get what they need, while others can’t even begin the story until they find the name that fits the character in their heads.

I find myself in the middle. While I work for names early on, most of them come intuitively as the character emerges, and others get changed later if I find they don’t fit at a later time in the writing. Rarely I have unnamed characters in a flash fiction bit – but flash fiction is in a category of its own and sometimes names aren’t needed.

More about flash fiction later.

Have you ever thought about names so much? Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me, or the writer I am, or something that can be shared with others at all.

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4 Comments

  1. Joe said,

    10 February 2009 at 09:42

    Hiro Protagonist from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash is my favorite character’s name. It’s straight to the point and kind of funny in odd humor sort of a way.

    I always internalize characters names for myself when I read a book, unless they have a good name already. It gets a bit confusing though when trying to discuss a book with someone else.

  2. Jamie said,

    10 February 2009 at 10:04

    I keep a baby name book on my writing desk. I don’t tend to flip through it frequently but it is nice to come up with something other than Micheal or Robert every once in a while.

  3. Sarah said,

    10 February 2009 at 15:24

    I’m of the “they must be named before I can start” variety of author. On a side (but related) note, my current novel has a witch of a character named Maggie. I discovered in doing her character sheet that her name is really Maggie May, and that she was named after the Rod Stewart song, but she hates the song, so she never tells anyone her middle name! 😀

  4. Dawn Embers said,

    10 February 2009 at 18:59

    I think in writing names are important. Plus naming a kid is a good reason to be thinking about them. My parents could only agree on one name, so they have said.

    For my characters I try to give them a name that I feel right but have to be careful that I don’t use the same name over and over since I have so many characters. I do change names later on, particularly if there are two that have conflicts (chris and cody for example). But I haven’t finished much so we’ll so how names turn out in the long run.


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