What’s In a (Wrong) Name?

Here’s a good writing tip for fiction writers:

Coming up with the names of characters is vital. That sounds obvious, but it’s more complicated than it seems.

6a00d8341bfbfe53ef015391e7b9e7970b-800wiIf you get the “wrong” name for your character, if the name never resonates in your head as being perfect for that three-dimensional individual you are creating, then the process won’t ever quite work.

Fairy tales are filled with stories of other-worldly characters whose powers can be contained or controlled if you know the character’s name. It’s the same for fiction writers.

Here’s the trick: Write down the names of five or six primary characters in your story. Then tuck that notebook away somewhere.

Wait a few days or a week. In another notebook, replicate the names.

Got ’em? If you do, they’re probably the right names. That’s because, as you picture your character, the name comes to you. Just as it does when you meet, say, someone new in your workplace.

If you can’t re-conjure the some of the names, then your brain is telling you the name is wrong.

About danahaynes

Dana Haynes is the author of ICE COLD KILL (2013), BREAKING POINT (2011) and CRASHERS (2010) from Minotaur and St. Martin's Press.

Posted on February 20, 2013, in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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