Name That Character


Okay, so, I’ve been insisting – to me – on getting this next story underway, and while I’ve managed to format Word for the task and DID get a half of the first chapter typed … one of the major stumbling blocks occurred AGAIN to prevent this latest endeavor from actually taking shape in the timely fashion I’d – for just once, please – like to have it actually go.

I can envision my characters long before the story even takes shape inside my head. They usually pop up first, leaving me to wonder about them, what they’re like, why they’re forming in my mind, and then what I’d like to do in order to send them on their journey in words.

Once that concept sounds viable enough to want to tackle using Word, I end up staring at my work … the words CHAPTER 1 … for awhile. When that isn’t fun anymore, I’ll open a game of Forty Thieves and play a few rounds, still hoping for miraculous inspiration to strike.

That inspiration is what to name these characters. It never fails. I’ve got NAMES documents in my Personal folder on desktop. I’ve bookmarked a few websites that list hundreds of names. I have a ‘real’ file folder cram-packed with names I’ve seen on the fly and jotted down because they intrigued me or sounded too cool to forget or ignore.

It doesn’t matter, though. And, now that I think about it, maybe I’ve got too much information to be able to make an informed decision on the spot.

I did the typical online search thing, too, and there were a number of articles on this subject … how to name your characters (not WHAT to name them, but HOW, which made me giggle, but whatever). I suppose it makes sense, giving suggestions about what they look like, who they are in the story, their occupation, background, etc. Still, even knowing all that crucial information doesn’t inspire me in the least when it comes to their names.

These article writers all said the same thing, too. Don’t be cutesy, cliche, or out-dated in your approach. The kind of advice I usually resent for one reason or another. What, exactly, are they trying to advocate and why? And, excuse me, but, if you don’t want me to be cutesy or cliche, then you’re telling me to avoid the commonplace names of the here and now while also steering clear of the cringe-worthy varieties to include but are not limited to such things as Remington Steel, Chase Manhattan, Jake Abs, Conner Tanner, or Luke Duke, right? Or, Chelsea Pretty, Heather Vixen, Charity Pureheart, Amanda Everygirl, and Denver Colorado … to name a few.


What I don’t like is trendy, pop-culture, now anything. If I choose Todd and Jane for my main character’s names, it’s because (to me) they fit with the characters I’ve created. The same way I would name them Lincoln Park and Shiawassee Lane … because I can and I adore the two names of places right here in Michigan.

Anyway, at around midnight the two names for these characters finally hit me all of a sudden, but I only had about a half-hour more to write when sleep dragged me away from the laptop and to bed.

If there is a magic spell you cast that conjures up your characters names right away, or you’ve devised some foolproof way of figuring out what to name them, I’d sure like to hear from you!



About RaineBalkera

Aspiring Author of Romance
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4 Responses to Name That Character

  1. wscottling says:

    Just name them Mary, Tom, Betty, Hank, Jill, and Steve for the first chapter or so, and as the story goes on you’ll notice that those names just don’t fit. While you’re writing their actions and words, you’ll say to yourself, “that’s not a Mary, that’s a Tatiana.” and Voila! Tatiana is born. Same with last names. Smith, Jones, West… whatever, then as the story goes on a character will say “The Wests have lived here for generations…” and you’ll think “No, not Wests… Pattersons” and Bam! Tatiana Patterson is your vamp.

    Okay, it’s not a great name, but it’s late and it was off the top of my head. But better than Mary West, no?

    Liked by 1 person

    • RaiBal says:

      thanks for the suggestion 🙂 Sometimes I will use X and Y for the same reason, but your way sounds like a time-saver, too. And, I should have explained a lot earlier … I type viola on purpose because that’s the way a close friend of mine used to pronounce it, and it made me laugh so hard I just stuck with it over the years. Voilà! 😀


      • wscottling says:

        I must have missed viola… I usually will find accents when they’re used, but I’m dog tired from packing all day so I skipped it for voilà this time (I just cut and pasted yours ^_^) because I knew the context would carry it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. RaiBal says:

    Lol – no worries. I’ve typed that word a few times in other posts, too, but as I said, the wrong way, and on purpose. Moving? Good luck!


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