Finding the Right Name

Rena George Characters' Names 4 Comments

This lovely image of sunrise over Edinburgh’s Old Town has absolutely nothing to do with the following post. It just makes me feel good.

I know it sounds ridiculous to suggest that finding the right title for a novel / short story can often be more trouble than writing the whole thing, but if you’re me, it can feel like that at times.

It’s just one more skill for writers to master. (Even if it does get changed once an editor gets his / her hands on it)

It’s like writing blurbs and the dreaded synopsis – all essential abilities, but oh how I struggle with them.

Names for my characters however are a completely different thing. I can’t get into writing the story until I have the right names – and they quite literally come out of the thin air.

Like everyone else I have baby name books and favourite websites from which I can glean characters’ names, but I hardly ever use them. Once I have a character in mind they seem to come fully formed, names and everything.

I suppose it’s a subconscious thing because I’m a compulsive jotter downer of great or interesting names I hear (or see in the titles that run after TV programmes.)

One of my favourite crime writers, Pauline Rowson, whose fabulous marine mystery novels featuring enigmatic DI Andy Horton, has been musing about her method of finding the right names for her characters.

This is how she does it. Here

How about you?

Rena xx


Comments 4

  1. Very interesting post – and link, thank you! I am guilty of over-using names. I often struggle over titles, but sometimes I get the title before the story. The character names have to be right though and I sometimes find until I give them the correct name, they don’t behave themselves at all 🙂 x

    1. Post

      I know exactly what you’re saying, Teresa. I think it’s an instinctive thing.
      If a character lives and breathes in your mind, the right name just somehow seems to come. But if you get it wrong then they don’t play nicely. (if you see what I mean)

    1. Post

      Have you ever tried googling street names, villages, and other locations in your characters’ area? It can sometimes throw up some great little gems.
      Good luck with that current WIP, Flowerpot.

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