Character Names

5 Feb

Character names are a struggle for some writers, luckily for me, unlike titles, I never have any problems.

I remember once sitting in a lecture, it was back in the early days, where there would be at least thirty pairs of eyes, staring straight ahead, thinking about what to do as soon as it was all over. Anyway, we were told if stuck for a character name, pick up a baby naming book, followed by the phone book, and collect a random name for each. There you go, one character name, simple.

Maybe I remember this wrong. Maybe it was because out of those thirty pair of eyes, it was obvious it was only a handful who actually cared. I’m not sure, what I do know is I have never named a character in this way, and I am pretty certain I never will.

I’m not being a snobby writer, but I do think that if you are in tune with your character, really understand the, then a name is just natural. I won’t say like naming your baby (my daughter was a few hours old when I settled on a definite name  – I dread the days when she finds the baby box and asks who this other daughter is), but I do think you just know. You see them, you hear them, you know them.

What do you think? Do your character names just flow?

10 Responses to “Character Names”

  1. submeg October 30, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    I’m currently sitting here with five characters without names. Currently they are called – main male character 1,2,3, main female character, support male. I think it takes time to discover what the names will be; until you know your character, you can’t put a name to them.

  2. wovenstrands March 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Yay. Thanks Ellie ❤

  3. wovenstrands March 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    So far I’m stuck on “Mason”!. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

    • Ellie March 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

      I’m such a cliche – that name has me thinking muscle, golden tan and mahogany hair….am I close?

      • wovenstrands March 3, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

        Nope the contrary. Midnight black hair deep blue eyes and this is going to sound weird but silver white skin (no, he’s not a vamp.) lol what about Xander?? :/

      • Ellie March 4, 2011 at 9:19 am #

        Liking Xander, or Xavier. Something with an X definitely suits the character description!

  4. wovenstrands February 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Wow that’s interesting. I’m glad it worked out for you, hopefully I could get passed this point because i can’t seem to write a word without figuring out his name.

    • Ellie March 2, 2011 at 7:28 am #

      Make sure to let us know how you get on!

  5. wovenstrands February 26, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    Yes, for my little project (I’m a beginner writer, working on an idea for a novel) The names for my girl characters are so easy to find and connect to their personalities, but for my guys, it’s so tough, I’ve tried everything. I can’t seem to find one for at least my main guy character. Any suggestions?

    • Ellie February 26, 2011 at 8:29 am #

      I had this problem once and it was stopping me from writing, it was bugging me that much. In the end I decided to provide the male protagonist with the most unsuitable name, the one that seemed furthest away from his personality. I chose Dennis.

      Everyone who viewed the work howled with laughter, ‘you can’t call him that’ they cried, but no one had any better suggestions.

      I was editing one day and as I read it, I called him Tom.

      I don’t know where it came from, I think I just finally understood my character. Not sure that it will even work next time, but it did at least lift the fog so I could continue writing.

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