What’s in a name? Well let me tell you, a lot, think about this for a minute; what if when your character grows up he/she doesn’t like the name, he/she was given. Naming your characters is like naming your child, really it is…
When choosing a name you have to make sure it fits so to speak, you also have to make sure the name you give your MC fits the time period your story is set in. For example, Florence, great name right?(Works for Mrs. Brady), but think about how old she is and when you say the name what comes to mind? It’s not a name you would give a seventeen year old MC who lives on Mars in the year 2050, a names like Jayden or Zoe are good options for a modern MC, not one that may have been used in 19th century England though (a possibility , but I doubt it), so stick with the times when looking for names.
Names are just one of the things readers remember, a reader will never say main character or the girl, and they will refer to the MC as Bella or Katniss, Harry Potter or my current fictional crush Jamie Fraser. Readers will, of course remember the story because it’s what makes the characters. However, imagine after investing all that time in your novel, you start the editing, rewriting process and even though the names in it fit the times, you start to realize it doesn’t fit your MC. It can happen after all, you’ve heard people say that when they have babies they have names in mind but until they meet the child, they truly don’t know what name they will give them. It’s happened to me, for the last six months of my first pregnancy my son was going to be Tomas, but when I met him all I saw was my Mattias, (my last option on a list that consisted of three names). I ended up giving my second baby the first option and my third the second name on my very short list.
Again, there is not a whole lot of difference when creating characters. Make a list of two or three names and I say three because your options are endless it can get overwhelming, you want to concentrate on your writing not names. Trust me when I say you can get stuck on the name but you can always leave it until a later time, when you have a small list try them out, see what name“fits”. As for surnames, well that shouldn’t be so difficult, for the simple reason that surnames span centuries and can pretty much be used for any time period, however make sure the surname fits the first name, if you come up with a name like Washington Perez, there better be a good reason why you chose that…
Baby name sites are an amazing option, I use them a lot, but even then, I don’t always have names jump out at me. I also pay attention to the credits at the end of a movie, loads of names rolling over the screen. Sometime it’s a name I here in the street, but like I said, it can be overwhelming, so tell yourself this, it’s your baby you’re naming and just like any new parent you want the perfect name don’t you…
What’s sources do you use for naming your characters?
Do you use family members for inspiration?
He/She said, requested, snorted, yelled, stammered, shrieked, admitted, called, shouted, cried… Well you get the picture I could go on and on. I have read books which had very little “saids” in it and I have read books that were plagued with saids, sneereds and sceams etc. I have also read books which had so little “saids” I had no clue which character said what, those are the ones I tend to put down. When I pick up a book I want to sit, read and know if my heroine or hero is speaking and not guess. Until I started writing I had never noticed the “saids” in the novels I read, it wasn’t until I began to edit my own stuff that I realized how often I used the “saids“. I get why we put it in there, but is it necessary to always indicate who is speaking? I think not, if we as writers are being clear and the dialogue indicates that the conversation is between two people maybe identify one of the speakers and then let dialogue take it course. As long as it’s not too long then I don’t think “said” needs to be there. Now if you have more than one character speaking said can be used often to identify the speaker. Now how about those screams and stammers, are those necessary? I like to think I don’t use them often, but I will get back to you on that when I finish revising and editing. How about words like stormed, how does someone storm because honestly I can’t do that, I have stammered, never stormed.
How many “saids” are in your WIP? Do you notice them when you read novels? Do you know how to STORM?
Here’s my take. I don’t stick or designate a number of words I write per day. Although I do try to get some writing in everyday, it’s difficult. I am a mother of three, which requires me to spend a good three hours helping my kids with homework after school. I also have a day job, so time is a hot commodity in my life. For me, that three thousand word goal isn’t always feasible. But aside from time, it’s a matter of flow. I’ve always said that writing for me is a mindset—I need to be in the mood. Because of my hectic lifestyle, I’m tired and my creativity takes a nose dive along with my energy. For some, long hours, late nights or super early mornings work well, they thrive on it. It’s not the case for me unfortunately.When it comes to writing I need the story to flow naturally, not all my chapters have three thousand words, actually most don’t. At some point while writing, the chapter comes to its own conclusion. I’ve read books where the chapters go on and on and at some point the flow is lost. I’m about getting to the point, moving the story forward. I love books with short chapters. I find that it keeps the reader engaged in the story—at least that’s the case for me as the reader. As a writer my main concern, is getting the story out and knowing when the chapter needs to end, whether it’s six pages long or fifteen. The bottom line is that if I set a word count and concentrate on meeting it, I lose the flow that I strive for and I’m no longer worried about the storyline. I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work for me, the words need to come naturally. The less pressure I put on myself, the more productive I am. So think about what works for you. Story is a natural thing, just let it come…Do you set goals for yourself? You know those three thousand words a day you stick to meticulously. How is it working for you? Does the story flow naturally?