Naming Characters

The Guardian has a great article today about naming characters. It’s one of the things I find hardest about the writing process. A character name might seem like a minor detail but it’s only when the name is right that a character comes into focus for me.

I have now got a stack of phone books and baby name books to reference when writing otherwise I find that I run into problems; either my characters end up nameless for pages or they all have the same names as my friends and family. However sometimes I think that the baby name books will give guys the wrong idea so I’m always quick to explain their real purpose!

In my first novel the lead character didn’t have a name as I wanted her to be an “everywoman”. My current novel is set in modern day Dublin and so I have tried to pick names that reflect this; after all Mary and Paddy are no longer the most popular picks for newborns!

I was made redundant last week and so until I find a new job I’m taking this opportunity to write like a maniac. I’m heading to New York on 16th March for a few days and I’m aiming to have the first draft of my book finished by then so for the next three weeks I’m keeping my head down and writing up a storm. Wish me luck!

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6 thoughts on “Naming Characters

  1. Best of luck….I have attempted to write many times but short stories are all I ever manage to complete. Great idea for character names, as you said mine usually take form from people in my everyday life (not very creative!). Sorry to hear about the redunacy, but finishing your draft would be pretty amazing!

    1. I think every form of writing is a discipline in itself. I’ve tried short stories without any success! Have you ever read Richard Bausch? A master of the short story and well worth reading if you haven’t already.

  2. Pingback: Naming Your Child; A Rant by David Mitchell « Alex Donald's Multiverse

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