Thursday, September 30, 2010

A New Perspective on an Ancient Art

Thinking of names for characters is difficult—for me at least.

Right now I have this novel idea that I have been mulling over for the past year or so. Just now I have been getting scenes and characters down on paper.

The two main female characters, the names just came to me. But I am having a hard time coming up with an appropriate name for the male character. He is such a strong, integral part of the story that I can’t just don him with any name. It has to be strong, reflecting his personality, his essence. And thus, I have delayed. He simply remains “the brother” or “D—,” so that I can going on with my writing instead of wasting time worrying over what to call him.

It’s driving me crazy.

I haven’t been very proactive in thinking of a good name, I suppose.

I’ve mostly been waiting for it to hit me in the head one brilliant day.

I know it will eventually.

In the meantime, the writing must go on. I found a brilliant blog on writing just the other day. I always get excited when I find a wonderful, helpful blog such as this one by Roz Morris. She wrote a post recently about how writing must be “play” before it becomes work. As soon as I read that, I really, really wanted to write all of a sudden.

Writing as play? It’s such a simple idea, but when I read that, I suddenly realized that I was approaching the blank page with this apprehensive attitude, much like I feel when I am going to a job on a nice sunny day when I would much rather be outside.

Roz says: “Novels need play time before they grow up… So start playing with it early. Collect material. Give it its own folders. Brainstorm a few scenes for fun and let the good bits sneak up on you like the first one did.”

And just like that, I was in the mood to write, to brainstorm, to create. To make lots and lots of bad mistakes in the hopes of producing something beautiful.


  1. Names are hard. Think what essence you want to be projected by your character and try to match it with a suitable name.

    My current WIP is a YA urban fantasy, a sort of AUNTIE MAME meets THE TWILIGHT ZONE meets HARRY DRESDEN. My main character is a 13 street kid, who idolizes Ulysses and Sherlock Holmes because they overcame by their wits.

    He is destined to become somewhat of a French Quarter legend, a throwback from British heroes come from parts unknown to tweak the noses of the dark creatures who live in the shadows of New Orleans.

    Overcomes. Legendary. I chose : Victor Standish.

    Think what impression you want to make by the sound and feel of the name and jot down names until one jells with your muse. Roland

  2. Thanks for the tip! Victor Standish is a good one. I've come up with one that I like, but for some reason I feel like I might change it at some point.