Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Road Trip Wednesday-The Name Game

This week's YA Highway Road Trip topic: The list of top baby names in 2012 had us talking about naming characters. How do you decide on names? Would you ever name a character after a friend/family member/ex?

My character names usually come from the gut. I start writing. Then, when I need a name, I pause, dig deep, and write what comes to mind.
Not that these names always stick. I check my favorite site HERE, to make sure it's something a teenager might actually be named these days. And I sometimes have to switch out names if I have two (or more) starting with the same first letter or that sound too much alike. Most of these changes will be with minor characters since I'm usually too married to the original names of the main characters by the time I check these things.

Generally, I have a harder time coming up with last names. My gut technique doesn't work so well there, and I sometimes have to rely on the phone book for ideas.

Strange enough, I did end up with two appropriate last names for Cheater Beaters, though I didn't do it on purpose. My protag's name, who is sick of cheating guys and is taking a break from dating is Becca Freeman (as in, free of men), and her cheating, playboy ex is named Marc Fetters (as in, won't be fettered). Not on purpose. Really.

As for naming after real people, I have named a few very minor characters after my nieces and nephews. My goal is to publish them all that way someday in hopes they'll get a kick out of it.

What about you? What goes into naming your characters?  


  1. I am a gut namer too. Or as I put it, the name materializes in my head along with the character.

  2. I've resorted to using the phone book for last names too, although I sometimes search surname databases. I love that you've worked in the names of your nieces and nephews. That's so fun!

  3. That's fun that you've worked in your family as minor characters. I'm sure they'll enjoy finding themselves in your stories :)