You just got a push of inspiration. You opened up a new word document on your laptop, or grabbed the nearest notepad and pen, and then you go for it. You’re doing it! You just started your next hit novel and you’re doing so well already and you’re almost a full page in and… then you stop.
You look up at the wall in front of you and begin to blankly stare.
Um… you need a name.
We’ve all been there. Character names are so important; they have to fit just perfectly. And main characters? The absolute worst.
So, what’s a clueless writer to do? Well…
Come on, we’ve all been there, done that before. No shame here.
Picking a character name sometimes feels just like picking a name for your own child… so, it only makes sense that you should research it in the same way… right?
(P. S. That name was actually on the main page of nameberry…)
And maybe it’s just me, and I highly doubt it is, but… I have to search, like, ten different websites of baby names and sift through at least eighty-nine first names before I can choose the top five candidates for my main characters. I mean, you have to pick one that reflects your character’s personality… partially his/her looks… partially his/her parent’s personalities (because technically the parents chose the name)… and partially, possibly, his/her fate (as foreshadowing). That’s a lot to think about (and I’m probably even forgetting another factor or two). And, I mean, you could just pick a random common name… like Samantha or John, but even those names have ‘special meanings’ behind them. Also, and I don’t know about you, but I always associate different names with people I know that have those names. And, sometimes, certain names bring annoying guys’ faces to mind… and others bring the kind expressions of good friends. So, above all, the name you pick has to not only fit… but it also has to be one that you actually like and can stand typing a million times over in the course of however long it takes you to write your story.
Above all, though, make sure you pick the character name that you want to use. You’ll love your story a lot more if you do. And, if it takes you a million years to pick the perfect one (like it does for me), then just use a filler word in place of it while you write, so you don’t get slowed down. For example… “Hey, Mr. Name, put your darn coat on already!” Or… “Hey, Mr. My author is taking a million years to give me a name, put your darn coat on already!” That one’s kind of long, though, but really… I use filler words for names all the time, so don’t be afraid to try it out.
So… on a scale of one to two hundred, how much could you relate to this post?
Until next time, fellow character name-pickers.