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:
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.