What’s In a Name?

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How do you name your characters?

For some the process is easy. Not so much for others. Naming “my babies” never posed a problem for me. However, I don’t use the same criteria for each project.

In Abandon I wanted something old-fashioned for the main character. I once had this teensy doll with purple hair named Greta Grape. No, she didn’t resemble my characters, but the name reminded me of antiques and fine china. It fit the woman whose story was being told.

Naming characters is one of the funnest parts of writing. Sometimes you look for names with a specific meaning. Even if the reasons for the name are never revealed in the story, you know why that particular moniker fits. A baby name book is a very useful tool; tons of websites serve the same purpose.

Sometimes using an ethnic name is the way to go. For instance, in Fool’s Journey I used Russian names. They helped with the characterization and scene setting. In my mind, Dimitri personifies a Russian landscape.

Dissonance is popular. I find these especially good for thrillers and adventures. Unique names for unique plots.

These are just a few ways I go about naming my characters. Do you have any special resources, methods or rituals you use to name your characters?

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