Thursday, February 18, 2010

Character Names. Sigh.

Tip of the Day: Want a chance at winning a signed copy of A MATCH MADE IN HIGH SCHOOL? Hop over to my blog. Tip #2: In the IL area and want to go to an awesome kid lit event this weekend? Anderon's is having their annual Children's Literature Breakfast this Saturday. Deena, Em and I will be there!

Coming up with my characters' names is getting really. Freaking. Hard. I recently started writing my eighth book and I don't think I've repeated a name yet. That's a lot of names. At first it was fun and cute and I was going through all the names I loved and wouldn't get to use for future kids (had to stop having babies at some point right?). But as I've kept going it's just getting frustrating. My notes have been reduced to main girl, main guy, BFF, jerky dude and the like. All because I've been resisting naming the characters. I'm like one of those parents that lets their kid be named Baby Girl for the first couple of weeks after she is born all because mama can't commit to a name. It's like, once they have a name they're stuck with it even if it's sucky because I just don't want to come up with something else. One of the guys in my current WIP is named Nate. I'm not sure if it's a good name. Might be a terrible name. There's probably an online poll somewhere that says 87% of people hate the name Nate. But now he's stuck with it because I just can't go there again. And last names? Wow. That's even worse for me. Want to know what I do? I mentally go through the last names of every person I've gone to school with from kindergarten through college and I use their names. For real. I'm also fond of old teacher's last names. And when I get really desperate I look through sites like this one. And that helps. One fun thing I've been doing with names is having my kids' names make an appearance in each book. Not as a main character but as one of the characters that only has few lines. Like a walk-on role. In THE ESPRESSOLOGIST there is a customer names Gavin. In MY FAKE BOYFRIEND IS BETTER THAN YOURS there is a girl at the lunch table named Maya. And in PUMPKIN PRINCESS there is a patch worker named Teegan. I'm going to have to slip London into my new book. :-)

Kristina, Miss See Me on the Shelves

(How do you like the new name? I'm trying it on and walking around the store in it to see if it squeezes my toes. Does it look ok?)


Jen said...

I love the new name!! It is difficult to find the perfect fit for your character, you never want to re-use, and there are a ton of names out there but it's always hard deciding! I find that I change the name so frequently that I should try your method, main character, jerky dude... that's funnY!

Emily Marshall said...

Too funny. I imagine it would start to get hard at one point. Another problem is that when you switch to a new book, I start calling my new characters by the old characters names. I imagine just like you could confuse kids names.

And I have a whole book for London!!!

Kate Fall said...

Once I named a kind of a jerk character Greg (known by his last name) and now all my jerk guys known by their last names are Gregs. Which is kind of a shame because I like the name Greg and I never met a Greg I didn't like in real life. Oh, well, you have to recycle something, I guess.