Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hero and Heroine...How Do I Name Thee?

When you sit down to write your book, how do you come up with names for your characters? Do you search the internet for names, scour the newspapers, read obituaries, think back through the names of everyone you've met over the years? Do you use A and B and then make changes in your ms when you are finished?

In I've always found names for my characters prior to writing out their character sketches. It's the way they become real for me. Their names are branded in my mind and I just have to tell their story. Sometimes I have to abandon the story because it doesn't seem strong enough, but if I try to start another, those names keep drawing me back like a magnet. It's the one thing that stops me from abandoning a work in progress.

The biggest problem I have is finding a name that is not one belonging to someone I know well. The first book I wrote in 2001, was subsequently published in 2006. One of the secondary characters was killed. Her name was Natalie. One of my dear friends at my current place of employment read the book and commented that I'd killed her daughter! I started working here in the middle of 2002, one year after completing that novel...I didn't know any Natalie's at that time. do you name your characters?

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