Saturday, July 29, 2006

What's in a Name?

Let me ask you: When you're working on personal pieces (a short story say, or a novel) do you choose the names for your characters at random, or do you pick something that *feels* right?

When I'm creating a story, I'm not your typical writer who lays down a plot and character profiles beforehand. I jot down a few general notes, sure -- but I don't create the entire story in rough draft form. What I do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on however is each character's name, especially the main character(s).

I feel that a person's name in a story can convey meaning; as such, it needs to be something that fits with the character, i.e. their personality, traits, habits, etc. Sometimes, names just come to me and my gut instinct tells me to use them, even if I don't particularly care for the name. Othertimes, I literally spend a full time thinking, creating, scrapping, and doing all of this repeatedly until I come up with a name that suits the character.

Am I crazy? Or are there other writers that do this, as well? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

Hope all of you are having a wonderful weekend,

Denise

6 Comments:

At 6:48 PM, Blogger Keith said...

I don't write fiction, but when I used to do it back in school I'd always give my characters blank, monosyllabic names like Will or John. I like the idea that the reader gets to paint a picture of the character rather than have it forced on them.

I do like crazy American names in fiction, though. I read a short story you wrote at writing.com in which you named a character Brock. When I hear that name I imagine a guy with blond, blow-dried hair and pecs you can see through a thick jacket. He probably stars in a daytime soap, too. His expressions involve a lot of eyebrow arching, and they all come with sinister background music. He'll die in the end, falling to his death while skydiving with a parachute sabotaged by his long lost evil twin brother, Hoyt.

Genius. We don't have crazy names like that over here. We're a nation of Bobs.

 
At 8:53 AM, Blogger Wissam said...

You are not crazy, you are just smart ...

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger Denise said...

Oh my gosh, you read THAT story? I've completely forgotten about anything I had over there. That's so old, hah. I like to think my writing has evolved since then.

Your depiction of Brock however is quite amusing :)

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger Keith said...

Oh my gosh, you read THAT story? I've completely forgotten about anything I had over there.

Well, I work nights and I often have a lot of time on my hands. There sometimes isn't much to do other than watch King of Queens reruns and play with Google :)

 
At 12:18 PM, Blogger Denise said...

You must have nothing better to do if you sit around reading junk stories I've written ;)

It's the first story I ever submitted for critique anywhere so I suppose it will always have a tiny little place in my heart... somewhere... but just a little :)

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger Keith said...

You must have nothing better to do if you sit around reading junk stories I've written ;)

Yep, that's about the size of it. Most of my friends have gone on holiday and as a result I have very little to do when I'm not writing. There's only so much TV a man can watch before he goes insane. I need to find other things to fill the time :)

 

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