i'm going out of order this month and writing my thursday's children post before my IWSG post (update: i skipped IWSG, oh how life gets in the way sometimes! but i'll be back next month :). it's been a crazy two steps behind, one day ahead kind of week, so it makes perfect sense...in my head anyway.

now, names...

File:No Name sign, Colorado.jpg
wiki commons

"What is in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,
So Romeo would were he not Romeo called retain such dear perfection to which he owes without that title,
Romeo, Doth thy name!
And for that name which is no part of thee, take all thyself.”  
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

i love, love, love naming my characters. it's like naming my children all over again - a process i enjoyed so much, if it wasn't for the end result of way too many babies, i'd keep having them just to name them.

i'm also irrationally protective of said names. i do not like posting my characters' names! it makes me feel all ooky. my pinterest boards only contain initials and i won't admit how many times i've deleted and re-posted my story tabs on this blog...because of those oh so special names.

for some reason i don't want to reveal them before they're published. but, i also want to tell people about my projects, so...CONUNDRUM. i suppose i should think of ways to summarize my stories concisely enough that i don't need to include names, but... um... well...

and i name my characters first. sometimes i already know their names before i know what their story is. i can't understand them if i don't know what to call them. it's how it must be. i've only changed the name of a character twice.

how do you approach naming your characters? do you get to know them first, then name them or the other way around? what resources do you use to find names?

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  1. Oh, I love naming characters too. I spend hours reading baby name books and visiting baby name sites.


  2. That photo is awesome! I adore naming my characters. Sometimes the name comes to me first and the character builds from there. Other times, I pour over baby name websites. If you searched my browser history, you'd swear I was pregnant. Nowadays I do actually find myself debating whether I want to use the name for a character or save it for a hypothetical kid one day!

  3. I also love the name game and will probably do a TC post about it one of these days. I am not as protective over my names as you are though, lol. And my own two girls' names reflect their heritage (Russian/Chinese) as well as our name preferences.

  4. Another doppelganger difference! I always get to know them first. I usually give them a placeholder name while I figure them out. The only time I named them before I began writing was with R&T. They were always just R&T. Maybe that's why it's my fav ms... it was more like they were already real and I didn't have to create them, just write their story. Hmmm, there's something to analyze in there, if only I was awake enough to do it.

    BTW, you always pick perfect names.

  5. I love reading how much thought authors put into their characters' names. There can be a lot of significance, meaning and personality associated with names.

  6. I do it both ways. I put a lot of time into naming my characters, but often they change as work on the first draft. After that, they stay pretty much the same.

  7. Character names are so special. :) I don't like giving the MCs names away either. There's so much personality and love and I guess it's like a personal part of ourselves. Nice to find you!

  8. LOVE names, and naming my characters. Names themselves are a conundrum — they've gotta sound and look good, 'cause you'll be seeing them over and over again, that said, they've gotta be unique, too.

    I usually mine ancient greek and roman mythology for my names, but I'll adapt them when necessary so they sound smoother and more modern.

    I'd be proud of the names you've chosen for your characters. Tell us!! :)

  9. I find names both hard and easy to do, depending on the character. Sometimes the names just come as I get to know the character ("You are *such* a Stewart!") but other times I go back and forth ("No wait, that sounds too much like..."). For me, at least, it's the same whether it's an English name, a foreign one or an 'alien' name.

    Then there's the problem of picking something that's got a nice ring to it, only to find out that you've accidentally picked the name of a foreign serial killer (or similar)...

  10. Researching names is so much fun... I tend to find that when I see a name I like, i just know that's the one I want...:)