Monday, June 28, 2010

A Rose by any other name still has thorns

How do I come up with character names? Thanks for asking. My protagonist in Bum's Rush, Jack Troy slid out of the tips of my fingers without slowing my pace on the keyboard. Jack is actually an overused name, but it's honest and easy to remember. Troy, I don't know where that came from.

Other names like Cole Sigaphoos is a misspelling of a real name, really. Penelope, Cole's wife was my sister's name. She died in 1995. I hope she doesn't mind sharing her name with a slightly devious person. My brother's name, William, is in here too. He's the real villion. I had a time with Jack's love interest, Kelli. She's had three last names.

Where did I come up with Skip Reynolds? I wish I knew. He used to be a sub-story in my first book, which was complete, then it wasn't, then it was, then I re-wrote it and now it's incomplete. Anyway, that novel was 100,000 words plus, so I took Skip's portion out of that book and it bloomed into Bum's Rush. But where did the name come from? To tell you the truth, I think it arose the same way Jack's name did, from my fingertips.

I know when my characters approve of their names, because they don't give me any grief about it. With Kelli's first and second last names, she screamed at me every time I wrote it. I think she likes her knew one.

I guess we need to listen to our characters and our fingers. I got the best names out of thin air.
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  1. I always enjoy coming up with names but like you describe mine all arrive from multiple sources.

  2. I'm like you: sometimes my characters' names can be explained, with special meaning I've tucked away; others, they've just come to me, and I've no reason why.

  3. Most of my favorite character names come out of nowhere--Drifter, for example. The name just popped into my head and I started writing. Another favorite is Marcas. Sometimes I search for names, but more often than not they just fall into place. Awesome how that happens, isn't it? :)

  4. This post was so informative. I always wondered when I read a book and the name matched the person in the story, who is not real. Writing is such an art. Thanks again

  5. That's awesome who you mathch the names to the story. Very interesting!

    I absolutely agree with your 'bio' & look forward to reading ALL your books!!! Following so I can be a part of your journey to being an amazing author!!!

  6. It's exactly the same for me. The names that seem to come out of nowhere (sometimes really bizarre names, too) tend to be the best ones. or at least I think so, anyway. :-D

  7. I often just get given the name from nowhere, but just in case I get stuck, I have 3 boxes with slips of paper in them. One for surnames, one for boys names and one for girls. Each time I hear a name I like, I add it to the appropriate box. When I need a character, I play name matching. If I match a name, but cannot use it for that book, I add it to a file on my computer, Complete Names.
    It is great for writer's block days too!

  8. Great post! Some of the best character names are ones that come, unbidden. For some of my characters, though, I have to make a list of names that suit them, and cross them out until one remains. :)

    Thank you for visiting and following my blog!

  9. I'm a new follower, the blog! As for names, mine come out of the blue as well. My main character is Riley. Usually it's when I pictures their personalities that a name comes. I named one of my villains Gavin. When my husband found out, he liked it so much he's using it for his Facebook name. Well, that just sucked the villain right out so now I have to find another name. Hmph!
    Happy writing,