What’s in a name? Absolutely everything! I mean, come on. Who doesn’t hear a particular name, for example Damon Salvatore, and begin to drool? I immediately picture Ian Somerhalder playing the role, thanks to the WB. Debut author Lisa Burstein went so far as to title her novel Pretty Amy, after her main character. Being an Amy myself, I get it. This name really gives you a clue to the character’s personality.
So when I recently saw the summary on Goodreads for Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, I was devastated. The name I agonized over for one of my characters was right there in front of me, but in someone else’s book. For reasons beyond my comprehension, I was initially devastated. How could someone else use that name? Would anyone ever read my story because I used the same name?
Duh! Just like that, I stopped hyperventilating and realized how ridiculous I was being. With this part out of the way, Heather and I then discussed names that we really cannot use anymore. I mean, Edward and Bella? No one hears these two names anymore without thinking about Twilight.
Choosing names for your characters can be difficult. All writers want to use fresh, new names. Personally, the names I chose to use for my WIP kind of came from the characters themselves. I could NEVER change their names now, even if I wanted to. My characters would revolt. I know them inside and out. To me, they are friends. I live with them day in and day out. Changing their names would mean taking something away from who they are.
All of this just made me curious about how other writers come up with their character’s names. Heather M. White had some really interesting ideas like changing the spelling of a name or using the name of a friend or loved one. My characters shout their names into my ears (yes, they are very bossy). Now tell me, how do you come up with names for your characters?
*Yes, I am being a little evasive as to the names of my characters. I just am not ready to put them out there yet. Soon, I hope to introduce them to the world;)
**Thanks to Heather M. White for giving me permission to share with you our little discussion. You rock girl!