Monday, 13 February 2017

Names for characters

Names for characters

I talked about settings for stories last week; this week I am talking about names for characters.

For my male heroes I have generally chosen fairly short names – purely because they appeal to me and sound sexy, eg, Ben, Alex, Sam, James, Matt, Dan, Nick, Luke, etc. Male baddies usually have names which, to me, are old fashioned, dorkish or belong to people I don’t like! I have used Ronald in the story I am writing at the moment. Not all short names appeal to me – I have a Lance as a baddie in Collared by Wolves. It is simply a name I don’t like.

For my female heroines – I have usually chosen names I would give my own children (similarly, I would have given any sons my male hero names): Rebecca, Katherine (Kat), Elizabeth (Beth). The same is true as above for my female baddies - I once knew a Brenda who I heartily disliked! - and I had an Erica in another story because I find it too harsh a name.

I was going to name my very first heroine Jennie but then one day I said out loud, “But that’s me!” Jennie has always been my alter ego and if I was going to have a pen name, it was at that moment I realised it had to be Jennifer and so that first heroine got changed to Jessie.

It gets more difficult the more books I write as I am running out of favourite names (although I can always come up with people I don’t like for the baddies’ names!).

Occasionally I have used friends’ names for my characters or because the character has a certain trait and I know someone with that trait. My friend, Lyn, appears as Elin in Kink After Dinner.

Sci-fi characters, however, I am more creative with, but generally keep them short for the men – Suva, Taran (both in the Alien Manhunt stories) and Braemel (looks longer but still only two syllables).

I nearly tore my hair out with the characters in Naughty Christmas Wishes as the Elves all had to have names beginning with El – not so easy! I came up with Elvis, Elrond, Elliott and Elwood eventually.

I deliberately do not give my main characters names beginning with the same initial. This is because I have read stories where other authors have done this and I get confused as to which person is talking, particularly if it is two men. To get around my rule above, they all had nicknames.

I also have this (very odd) thing where I assign certain hair colourings to initial letters, eg, A, C, L, S are all blonde. D, G, H, I, J, O, P, Q, R, T, W, Z are all dark. Everything else is in between – could be dark blonde, mouse, ginger, light brown. So when I am thinking of a character’s name it may be determined by what colour hair I have in mind. I don’t always stick to this, but mostly I do.

So for my story I am writing (To Claim a Mate) – one of the gay heroes is Cole and the other is Jared. You now know what colour hair both have.

Watch this space for that story.

1 comment:

  1. I will look at popular name lists around the time they were born and see if anything there seems right