Names are an important part of any story. I’m a firm believer that names contribute to personality – both in real life and fiction – so naming my cast is an integral step in the process of creating their characters.
For SHADOWCATCHERS (my MG Historical Fantasy) I used some existing, exotic-sounding names, and completely made up others, and every name fit the characters. But now I’m revising my YA Contemporary, and the names are proving to be a sticky point. I had no trouble naming my main characters. Their names came to me along with their characters, like a package deal. But, as a part of my revision, I’m adding in three new characters: three uber-geeky guys whose appearances I’m loosely basing on some of my brother’s high school friends.
And that, I think, is part of the problem. In my head, I already know these guys, so separating their appearances from their names is proving tricky. The other complication is that this seems to be the book of three-letter names. My MC, her BFF, and her mom (who isn’t called by name very often), all have three-letter long names. So, of course, every time I think of a name for one of my geeks, it’s also three letters long. Sigh.
I’ve been trolling the Top 100 Baby Names list from 2000 (the approximate birth year of my characters, assuming this book gets published in 2018 – which is probably an optimistic assumption), but still nothing is calling to me.
I’m frustrated. It’s hard to write material for them without knowing their names. Sure, I could put filler names, but right now everything I come up with just feels wrong. Like jigsaw pieces that don’t quite fit. I think my next step is going to be filling out character worksheets for each geek to see if I can get a more complete handle on their personalities. Maybe once I know them better, they’ll tell me their names.
What about you? Ever had trouble finding the right name for a character? Or have any geeky names you’d like to suggest? Let me know in the comments.