**My theme for this year’s A to Z Challenge is THE NAME GAME. Everything you’d want to know about naming characters. I’m also going to attempt (miserably) to tie in today’s post with my post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Click the link to find out more!**
So you have a character. You’ve got the beginnings of a story planned out—things that will happen to him, people he’ll come across, decisions he’ll have to make. Maybe you already know what he looks like, who his friends and family are, his hobbies, hopes and dreams. But there is one very basic thing that you need to figure out in order to convey this character to your readers. Your character needs a name.
But what if you don’t have a name for him yet? The first thing I would say is: DON’T PANIC. Oh, you’re not panicking? Well, I had to tie this post in with insecurity somehow, so pretend you’re panicking!
Ok, so first, calm down. There are going to be several things that you’ll need to figure out while writing this particular story. Some can be easy, others can be difficult. Figuring out a name for your character could be either of these. Sometimes a name will just pop into your head like the actual character told you himself. Other times it could take weeks or longer to figure out. You could go through lists and websites and every resource you can find of names, never seeming to find the one that feels just right.
But seriously, don’t panic. Think about all the factors that could help you make a decision. What kind of character is he? When does the story take place? What are his parents like? You have to think of your character as a living, breathing person, and not just a figment of your imagination. What sort of influences from his family and culture would be used when he was given a name?
Perhaps the most important thing is to listen to your character. You’ll know when a name feels right, and when it doesn’t. Maybe the first name you come up with won’t be quite right and it will have to change. Maybe you’ll need to start writing the story before the name comes to you. But eventually you will figure it out and your character will have a name.
Do you ever panic when naming a character? Stay tuned for more in depth posts on the different aspects of naming characters!