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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lend Me Your Names!

I know that as a teacher, when I say, “Give me name. Now!” you cringe. You think of being asked, no, ordered to snitch on your friends. But, no, no, I would never do that to you!

I am beginning a new novel. It is not a sequel to Jaguar Sees: The Lacquer Box (have you bought your e-copy yet?) It was going to be the sequel, but I got bored of that. This novel is quite different, and I need names for the characters. You see when I write a story, I have the characters in mind; I feel like I know their temperaments pretty well. The setting is quite clear  as are the beginning and end of the story. Everything else is mud. Mud needs to be shaped.

I know that, if I just let it, the plot will pretty much tell itself in my head. Yes, it means weeks (months?) of carrying around pen and paper so I can jot down random ideas at random times, but it will come.

It’s the characters’ names that make me crazy. I don’t want to name them after relatives who might, after all, wreak retribution. I don’t want to name them after people I know because those people have their own distinct personalities which are not the characters’ personalities, and it becomes confusing when you’re not sure which world your mind happens to be in. I do use a Baby Names just end up with long lists. So, please, dear reader: comment here or on the announcement of this posting on Face Book or reply on Twitter, but please, please, please, give me your favorite names.

Now, I can’t promise that the name you submit will be used. After all, it might be the name of someone I know.  I can’t promise that the character you've named will be nice or awful or a crook or an angel. I do promise that if I use your suggested name, I’ll mention you in a “thanks” section at the end of the book. Here it is! Your opportunity to fame or, well, at least to be mentioned in the back of a book.  Give me names!


  1. This is so funny...I've been working on a book and the heroine was flat. Flat! A writer friend of mine suggested changing her name, and after finding something else that seemed to fit, her personality started to emerge. I have to do a major revision on the book, but at least she's talking to me now.

    Favorite names...

    Kathryn, Melinda, Molly, Francesca, Lucy
    Colin, Ian, Sam.

    I know there are more, but off the top of my head, that's what I have. Good luck with the new book!

  2. Funny the difference a name makes, isn't it, Jeannie? You know, of all the names you suggested, I like Jeannie best. I forgot about my childhood friend named Jean. I liked her a lot! :) Thanks!

  3. Naming is so tough!! I often end up going to the baby name websites and playing around for a while (my favorite is the baby name wizard which graphs names by popularity in decades and Nymbler which will give you names similar to one you like)...eventually I end up where I want to be...and other times I'm like you, I totally do what you're doing and ask around. Let's see...off the top of my head, names I like...

    Cameron, Devlin, Siobhan, and Jana.

    But I generally tend to go outside the box ;)

  4. (snicker) What were they? Sally and.... Johnny? Sally was definitely the girl one. God I was convinced those would be the names of my children. Very banal names, but nice solid, enduring non-dramatic ones too. I shall not be hurt if you prefer the more dramatic. ;)

  5. I have a friend whose name (maiden name) is Penny Parsley. I always thought she should be a character in a book. Maybe a children's book tho! Paula

  6. Penny Parsley, eh? Sounds like something from Jamima Puddleduck! I knew a Candace Kane once, and her parents were mean enough to call her Candy. Ugh. I'll go a bit more bold than you suggest, Steph, but probably these people are more conventional than you suggested, Sarah. These are all wonderful, though! They get my brain working. And, who knows, maybe a Siobhan will show up during the tale - at least, maybe after I look it up and see how to pronounce it!