Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday Name-Calls

Or: On naming characters.

So let's start by saying that I'm not the best person to ask about naming characters. It's one step down on my hatred list from titles. (I suck at titles. Seriously. My second novel? The original title was "My Crazy and Insane Relationship With a Berserker" and the only reason it had even a joke title was because I needed a title for NaNoWriMo and my crit partner suggested it. Then because "My Crazy and Insane Relationship With a Berserker" is WAY too long to use as a document name, I nicknamed it Berserk. It stuck. And that's the story of my title.)

Anyways. Names. With me, not every character has to have a name. My main characters have to have first names, but they don't always get last names til the second or third draft. (Seriously. My main character/narrator in Berserk didn't have a last name til the second draft.) In SMN (my newest book), for a good 20 or 30 thousand words, my main character's best friend didn't have a name at all. (It was a bet between me and my other crit partner. I bribed her into hurrying up and finishing her revisions so I could read her book by letting her name a character in my book.) So for a long time, the character was (Biffle) so I could do an easy find and replace when she eventually did get a name.

KT (the one I was just talking about) is awesome when it comes to names. We play the "name game" when I need to change (sister) or (girl) into actual names and she's helped me come up with a lot of names for this book especially. (No, I'm not sharing her ;) ) I used to use Behind the Name's Random Name Generator quite often, but KT's more fun. Though when I used the RNG, it was quite amusing to mock the names that I found funny. I'm nice that way.

One thing to consider when you're naming characters is their family. With SMN, a lot of the characters have Irish parents or grandparents, so I consider some Irish names, but sometimes (a lot of the time) I just use names I like and don't worry about where the name comes from. 'Cause, I don't know about you guys, but my name has a different background than me. ;) And I'm a mutt anyways, so I'd have to have like 10 names to accurately reflect my heritage...

I also like to use 1000 top name lists for the years the characters would have been born, especially for smaller characters. I think it adds a touch of accuracy to things.

How do you guys name your characters? Any favourite websites or tricks?

Peace and cookies,

(PS. Also. This is late because I forgot today was Saturday because yesterday was a holiday. So happy belated Canada Day, everyone!)