A to Z Challenge – Day 14: N is for Names

Hi all,

Today I wanted to talk about something that always gives me trouble as a writer – names! I get quite envious of those who seem to effortlessly just ‘know’ their characters should be called, or even have the name before the character even appears to them. Before now I’ve been sat there three quarters of the way into a manuscript and still not knowing what one of my main characters should be called ๐Ÿ™‚ I will usually have a general idea of what it should sound like – and I tend to know it when I hear it/see it. It’s kind of like when you’ve met someone once and you know they introduced themselves, then you meet them again and can you remember their name – can you hell! You know you know it – and it’s an annoying nagging at the back of your brain as you try and try to remember.

nameI will do all sorts to try and ‘find’ it – this can include trailing through baby name books and websites, checking mythological sites, scoring lists of names from certain countries. And don’t get me started on place names, ssecondary characters, companies and world building details ๐Ÿ™‚ My WIPs tend to scattered through with ‘xx’ which is where I didn’t want to break the writing flow by having to take half an hour to think of the right name for something.

What do you think, do you find names come to you easily – or do you share my pain? Readers, do you ever think that character names don’t suit the character, or on the other hand that they’re such a perfect fit that you always associate that name with that particular character?

Take care x

6 responses to “A to Z Challenge – Day 14: N is for Names”

  1. I’m the total opposite, Shelli – I’ll find I spend at least a whole day dedicating myself to each and every character’s name, so I can flesh them out from the very start, haha ๐Ÿ™‚ I once tried the ‘any name will do’ approach and at the end, when it came to changing it, I couldn’t bring myself to! So I was stuck with a heroine called Darla, when she was definitely more of a Meg, or Angeline, or something actually tolerable ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. That’s a tough one! I know there are random name generators and I’m going to write about that after the challenge is over. With my current book, the main character’s name just came to me, out of the blue. So I went with it! But for me names are like titles…sometimes the names/titles come first and sometimes the story fleshes out before you figure the names/titles out!

    Visiting you from the A to Z challenge sign-up page. Great to meet you!

    Stephanie Faris, author
    30 Days of No Gossip

  3. I have to have the RIGHT NAME before I write a character. If I change their name, their character changes with them! I have this great book, The Character Naming Sourcebook. It’s AMAZING! And it’s totally saved my bacon more than once!


    1. Thanks, will have to look that up! I agree, the name helps build the character, I like to have names that mean something as well – I’ll look up meanings, background, origins etc.

  4. My main characters come named, but secondary ones remain a BLANK until I finish the first draft. (Yeah, it’s a lot of fun to go back and fill in the blanks.) Since I write science fiction, I have an advantage with names, as I just make them up. Takes me twenty-thirty minutes.
    I’ll just slink away now…

    1. Yup, hang your head ๐Ÿ˜› Lol, I don’t find secondary characters as hard, but then sometimes as the novel progresses they develop and want a larger role (sometimes even their own book to follow). I have one at the moment who is wanting their own book and have realised am now not keen on their name – but the first book is out so am stuck with it!

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