Thursday, October 2, 2008

Naming Characters

So, I'll be Gwen Ifill and you be Joe Biden and answer my questions. Please don't be Sarah Palin and avoid them - I could really use the feedback!

QUESTION 1: What are some of the favorite character names you've written and/or read? Why?

QUESTION 2: At what point in the writing process do you name your characters? Do their names ever change?

QUESTION 3: Did you ever read a character whose name you thought should have been different than it was?



I will answer my own question #3 - and that is Kaye, from Holly Black's Tithe. It just didn't seem like her name.

I'm getting ready to try my hand at actually writing a book, so I will be asking all kinds of questions. Also, if anyone needs a beta reader, I am an excellent editrix (references available) and it would help me see different people's processes.

Thank you!!

4 comments:

  1. hmm, this is quite a tough one... But I'll answer question two, since that's the easiest. My characters arrive ready named. They simply turn up and introduce themselves. If I'm at all uncertain about their names, I run name meaning searches to check that the name means something that's relevant to the story.

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  2. For question one, my favorite character names are allusions. To Biblical tradition, Greek mythology, historical events, &c. It's a clue to the character's inner workings and also that the writer has put some depth into the character.

    However, characters do sometimes spring full formed from the writer's forehead. Not every character needs an allusory name, sometimes the name is just right.

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  3. QUESTION 1: What are some of the favorite character names you've written and/or read? Why?

    Claire (both that I've written and that I've read)...It means light. And it suits the characters to which it's attached.

    Arabella - not sure why.

    Jane - the simplicity.

    QUESTION 2: At what point in the writing process do you name your characters? Do their names ever change?

    Eh, my tendency so far has been to avoid giving characters a name UNTIL I find one that fits, until "they tell me." :)

    I did end up changing a main character name when I recycled a piece of a novel WIP into a short story...the name changed from Marissa to Caitlin. And the reason was that the story changed too.

    QUESTION 3: Did you ever read a character whose name you thought should have been different than it was?

    Not really, no.

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  4. And I can attest that Aerin is absolutely a fantastic beta reader!

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