I’ve written about this before. But, here I go again. How do you name your characters? I’ve found that the names have to resonate with me. There is some mix of the person you are writing about matching with the moniker you’ve given him or her. You can practically date someone by the name. If I asked you when a Doris was born versus a Chloe, you’d be quick to reply. So, how do we pick and choose what we call our characters and what does that portray to our readers?
One of the beefs I have with the way an author picks names is to have them similar. Jeff, James, John, and George. I confess I become confused. There have been times when I’ve had to flip the pages backwards to remind myself just who was James- was he the good guy, the mystery person or the side kick?
I use a silly technique for naming. I write down two columns from A- Z. As I name a character the space next to the letter of the first name and last, if it’s pertinent, is filled in. No two characters can have a name that begin with the same letter or sound similar. So, if I have a Caroline there is no Catherine.
That said, what about the name connecting with you- the writer. I wrote almost 200 pages before I realized that I really didn’t like my character. Thinking more hours than it probably deserved, I realized I did like her. But, she had the wrong name. Once I changed her name from Sophia to Anne, we not only got along much better but she become more alive for me.
When writing a full-length book, you spend a huge amount of time with these quirky, free-thinking, usually independent characters. Picking their names is more important than many would imagine.