What’s in a Name Anyway? By Stephanie Queen

mystery-man

Myren, my chauffeur, will tell you names aren’t important, but I disagree (he isn’t particularly fond of his name, so it’s a sour grapes thing with him and probably why he goes by some other crazy nickname which I can’t remember). That’s my big problem with names: I have trouble remembering them. I seem to have an impenetrable block. You would think my biggest headache is when I’m in a room full of new people trying to keep track of names, but no. At least then I have faces to go by.

No, my biggest name-headache is when I have a book full of characters. I have trouble remembering their names. Heck, I have trouble coming up with their names. I start using place markers, like Mr. X (thus the Name That Character Contest) and when there’s yet another character introduced I have to call them Mr. Y. You get the picture. I’ve gone through quite a bit of the alphabet while writing a book this way before I throw up my hands and give into the need to come up with the actual names.

Once I give into the challenge of coming up with character names,  I create a cheat sheet  of course. Then I go on line and browse names. They have to be good ones, meaningful and appropriate. At least that’s what I look for from my contest entries. The names I choose may be a bit more random. I have two rules.

  • Rule one: I must be able to pronounce the name.
  • Rule two: I can’t use the same first letter twice. (the exception here is if I ever write a book with more than 26 characters needing names. Then I probably will name one of them Mr. X.)

But I love memorable character names, the ones that fit and that you couldn’t imagine being anything else. One of my favorites is Jack Reacher, the main character in Lee Child’s thriller series. Love that name—suits the character. Few syllables. Uncomplicated. Blunt. Another character name I love is Scarlet O’Hara. Fiery and sexy. Earthy and unconventional.

What are your favorite character names that work?

NOTE: I’m officially inviting you to enter my Name That Character Contest to name the current Mr. X occupying the story world of my work-in-progress, Beachcomber Investigations. It’s available for pre-order now.

Here’s the blurb for Beachcomber Investigations:CoverBeachcomberInvBook1

Ex-special ops legend Dane Blaise is desperate to recruit Shana George away from Scotland Yard to partner with him in his new venture, Beachcomber Investigations. She has impressive skills and if he’s honest, he needs her to keep him grounded. But most of all, Dane wants to keep Shana on the island of Martha’s Vineyard because he can’t get past his insane longing for her.

Shana’s boss David Young forces her to decide on the spot when he assigns an important case to Beachcomber Investigations. She chooses to partner with Dane, going with her gut–or more accurately her heart–rather than her brains. They may be good partners in crime-fighting, but they are all wrong for each other in every other way possible. He’s soulless and lost and likely has more wounds from his past than the bullet and knife scars scorching his body. But she’s crazy. About him.

Their big assignment is to protect Dane’s old special ops buddy, Acer. They need to find whoever paid a sniper to take a shot at Acer–before the sniper takes another shot and doesn’t miss.

Dane and Shana need to be on top of their game to keep Acer alive, and not on top of each other. But each of them is secretly worried whether that’s possible–and worried about what will happen if it’s not.

Pre-Order at Amazon

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11 Responses to What’s in a Name Anyway? By Stephanie Queen

  1. Carol says:

    Great cover on Beachcomber Investigations. Dane and Shana’s story sounds exciting! Good luck with the contest!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. susanrhughes says:

    I have trouble with names, too. I don’t want to use the same one twice, so the more books I write, the fewer names are left that I like. A great name I can think of is Cruella De Vil.

    Liked by 2 people

    • stephaniequeen says:

      Cruella! A perfect name! Who could forget her name?
      The secret to not running out of names is to write a continuing series with the same characters. Well, I guess it’s not a very big secret. :>)

      Like

  3. Jo Grafford says:

    You have a chauffeur? Seriously? That is wildly cool. I’m the chauffeur at our hacienda. I get to drive kiddos and their friends (and occasionally one very spoiled kitty) to cheerleading, soccer, band practice, math teams, and a gazillion other places nearly every night of the week. I encourage tips but often settle for smiles and high fives.

    About names…
    I love the name Roarke in J.D. Robb’s In Death Series. A former street rat, he doesn’t tout a first and last name. Just Roarke. It gives a nod to his Irish descent while setting the scene for the lavishly wealthy business mogul he’s become. A man who makes his own rules. Like going by one name.

    Cleverly chosen names always help stage a story for me as a reader. Take Kirsten Ashley’s biker gang, for example. She calls ’em Chaos. Perfect! Then there are her heroes: Parker “Shy” Cage or Hopper “Hop” Kincaid. Total biker dude material. Gimme more. **Fanning face**

    Speaking of unassigned names, I have a slime ball who proudly calls himself the Triple X stalker in one of my WIPs, signs each horrifying threat as XXX. So I could probably handle reading about a Mr. X, too. It’s romantic suspense, right? A very sexy Mr. X could work for me. Just saying…

    Liked by 1 person

    • stephaniequeen says:

      LOL! I love Roarke too! In fact, I was thinking of Roarke for a character, but I feel like J.D. Robb’s character owns that name now and I can’t use it–too well placed and perfect for THAT character.
      About Myren…. he may not really be my chauffeur… but I take literary license. Still cool, right?
      Mr. X may be a sexy villain in one of my romantic suspense novels some time, but not this time. I need to replace the X marker with something… Letting my contestants come up with something good!
      Jo, I’d love you to enter my contest!! Thanks for sharing your Mr. X story!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jo Grafford says:

    LOL Reaching for my thinking cap. If I can come up with something worthy, I’ll pop an entry into the ol’ contest box. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love coming up with names for characters. I have, in the past, changed a character’s name when I am working through the second draft. Names are very important for me as a reader. They have to be memorable and easy to pronounce. 🙂

    Some of my favorites from literature:

    Robert Langdon

    Christopher Robin

    Georgiana Darcy

    🙂

    Great cover and good luck with the book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • stephaniequeen says:

      Christopher Robin is a great classic!
      I’m with you on the “must be able to pronounce” imperative for character names.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You like the Winnie the Pooh reference. 😉

        I love historical romances and I find it hard when the author gives the character names I can’t pronounce. I end up stumbling over the story and sometime even put the book down.

        I love Jude Deveraux in this case because she always gives her characters names I can understand, even in Scotland. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Joan Reeves says:

    I think you’ve got a winner here, Stephanie. Looking forward to reading it.

    Like

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