A List of Names

When starting an story idea, I need a name. Not necessarily for the story – a placeholder will do. It’s that meat of the character, and while it sometimes changes, that name also takes part of what it is to be that character. There have been days I poured through the name books or the name sites and tried to find just the perfect sound, the perfect feel, the perfect meaning.

Did it matter to my readers if her name was Paige or Hannah or Claire? Maybe not, but it definitely mattered to me. Connecting to that character meant I had to figure out which she was, and the way she interacted, and how she fit into the book.

Some character are named faster than others. In the current book, my main character is Lorelei. She has been since I thought of her, and she’ll stay that way. Her pilot wasn’t so easy, managing a few variations until I found what I wanted. No one in my writer’s group has complained about the names yet, though I’m still working through some of those details.

During this rewrite, I’ve had to change characters from their own stories to an outside viewpoint- Lorelei’s. It’s an interesting switch, because in the first write I didn’t know which viewpoint I needed to tell.  It makes for a lot of digging between characters when you have to see each one of them from every other character’s perspective. It’s not an exercise I do with every book.

When characters no longer spark something for me, I can’t pretend to give them justice. Those first started novels from junior high and high school still have names that spark something, though not enough to connect with or finish without completely restarting the projects.

Maybe on days like today, when the novel just won’t and the rest has been done, I could just look for a list of names to try to make something with. I found Sia lately, which I wasn’t familiar with, and who knows what that’ll come out to be.

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2 Comments

  1. E.D. Martin said,

    19 February 2019 at 20:34

    I’m enjoying the names so far, although Lorelei conjures up Gilmore Girls and I attribute a lot of her spunk to your character. Not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes names have connotations for readers other than what the writer intended or realized.

  2. ransomnoble said,

    14 March 2019 at 07:04

    That could be. But every Lorelei or Lorelai I’ve seen in a character has been pretty spunky. That’s something i like in a main character.


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