Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What's In a Name?

I'm about 10,000 words into my middle grade novel and I've yet to name my two main characters.

I've scoured baby name websites, eyed up my class roosters and thought about past interactions with people, but nothing seems right for my characters.

Currently, I've been writing a lot about ---- and -----.

I kind of like the ring of it, right?

"Hello, my name is ----."

Doh!

How do you name your characters?

7 comments:

Megan said...

I picture my character in my head with as much detail as I can and then write down any names that come to mind. Then I just look at the list every once in a while, crossing some out and adding others until there's one I can't get out if my head. :-)

Rachel Morgan said...

Oh, man, that is tough. In my experience, the name either just arrives perfectly formed from the beginning, or it's REALLY tough to find the right one. No middle ground!

Um... maybe try thinking of all your favourite fictional characters out there. Pick the ones that are most similar to your character. Then maybe use those names as starting points. Like look for names that are similar sounding, or mean the same thing. I don't know. Maybe that's useless advice! Good luck!

xx Rachel

Julie Maughon said...

Sometimes they just come to me, but sometimes they really don't. In those cases, I have been known to solicit names from crit partners. I'll list attributes of the character(s) in question, and then mention a letter or essence that I have in mind (like, "one syllable," or "has an L in there, somewhere," or, "means ---"), and then let her go at it. One of two things usually happens: she finds the perfect name, or all of the wrong names she lists leads me to find the right one. Even if it takes me a while. :)

Krispy said...

This is a tough question to answer! I always have trouble with names, and much like you, I usually just go through name lists and baby-naming sites. Usually, I have a couple of things I'd like to be related to the name - maybe a color or characteristic or meaning, and I'll look up names by those criteria. Other times, I just go by sound and what ultimately feels right on the character. It's hard though! Good luck!

Matthew MacNish said...

I name them the first thing that pops into my head, because I believe the character should make the name, not the name make the character. But that's just me. You have to do what works for you.

SA Larsenッ said...

Ooh, most times it just comes to me or I do the baby book thang, too. Maybe look into your character's past or family past. See if you can insert some heritage by using a name, which might turn into a nickname or something. MGers like nicknames. Just a thought... Good Luck!

Sarah Pearson said...

I'm with Rachel. If the name doesn't come to me straight away, it usually ends up getting changed way too many times!