22 May 2011

What's in a name?

Usually, I don't spend too much time on character's names.  This is usually how it goes:

Me: Cale, I need a girl's name!
Cale: Kayln.
Me: Sweet, I like that one.


Me: Porsha, Helena, Mirial, Natalie, Victoria, Sophie, Jeannette, Shell.  Hmm, yeah, Shell sounds good.

Anyway, this is my current problem.  I really don't like one of my MC's names.  I've never liked it, but it's been his name since 7th grade when he came into existence.  Do I take the time to figure out a different name or leave it as is?

How do you guys come up with your character's names?


  1. My characters tend to arrive in my brain already with names and even if I hate the name, I find it really difficult to change it. In one of my books, I have a character called Steve. I hate the name Steve (sorry to all the Steves out there...) and I've changed it twice, to Matt and then to Nick, but I still type Steve every time he walks into a scene.

    I'm about to start a new book in the next month or so, and the characters are still coming into my head. So far I have Livvy, Jules and Dylan, and as the love interest, Bianca. Where do the names come from? I haven't a clue!

  2. Man, I think your Steve situation is like my Alec situation. Even if I really don't like the name, I highly doubt I'll be able to change it.

  3. That is hard. I have changed a name that bugged me before and it was such a pain, than I almost felt like I didn't know the character anymore. But then again, I've heard of editors changing a name if they don't like it. I guess you just go with your heart.

    As for names, I pretty much do it the same way you do. Sometimes I will hit google up for some advice.

  4. He he he. Sometimes that's enough. Sometimes I just "know" the name. Others? I did a post on this if you want to see it... http://paranormalpointofview.blogspot.com/2011/03/whats-in-name.html

  5. If you really don't like his name then change it! Go through the names you like or look through magazines. What nationality is he? Look at those kinds of names. Or just wait until one clicks. Good luck!

  6. I am a name addict. I change names a million times before finding the perfect one. A lot of times I don't get the right "feel" for the character unless I have the right name. Also I love the websites behindthename.com and nameberry.com. Hope that helps!

    PS: I love the name Alec!

  7. I'm a name freak! I'm one of those people who has to get the name down before I can really write. Otherwise I feel like I don't know who the person really is. If you hate the name and it's not inextricably tied to WHO the character is, then I'd say change it! Think of it in terms of the people who hate their names growing up and change them as soon as they can legally do so.

  8. Krispy, that's a great way of thinking about it! Thanks :)