Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's all in a name...

This didn't post right earlier this morning, so I'm reposting...

Going further with discussion on character development, and here is a great site Holly Lisle has with workshops on this subject as well as dialogue and many others. Here are a few checkpoints she uses when designing the life of a character.

Choose a gender.
Choose a place of birth.
Choose a hobby.
Choose a past job.
Choose a present job.
Choose a past love interest.
Choose an enemy.
Choose a pet.
Why is your character not working at the old job?
Why is your character not with the old love interest?
How did your character make the enemy?

And there are many more. Like, obviously, a name. LOL.

And on that note, how do you choose your characters' names? My stories are present day so I choose what fits them and usually weirdly enough I have the name and personality of the mc before I even have the story. I know I have to write about this person.

I know many of you write historical fiction, so how do you choose yours to fit the time period? And fantasy and sci-fi names ...does it just come to you or is it carefully constructed?


Kathryn Magendie said...

I have the essence of the character first - some quirk, or the eyes, or something they say, or I'll just "see them standing there" or whatever and then I begin with a sentence and then the character kind of nudges me - the name many times comes right away - but not always....and it has to "come to me" - at least for the main character. Secondary characters, or minor characters, I can play with the names more - but never main characters - they get ornery if I try to fiddle with their names *laugh* but, sometimes a name I want just won't work no matter how much I want it to, so I have to let it go.

Danielle said...

Usually a name just comes to me, at least for my main characters. For secondary characters, I have three baby name books that I refer to. One of them is filled with... odd names. That's the one that I'll go to if I'm writing a fantasy story. There's another that has lists of names that sound good together - they're intended for sibling names, but I find a lot of them work together in general. Occasionally, the character has some standout trait, and I'll base the name on that in some form.

ElanaJ said...

I love thinking about my characters, but rarely write everything down. I really need to work on that.

As for the names, I did a bunch of posts on this on my blog way back in March or something like that. I did a poll with what letter they started with, and that was a real eye-opener.

So now I carefully choose the names so they are unique (no Abby or Abbey or Abigail) but normal enough that anyone can pronounce them.