Naming my characters with spam

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March 20, 2013 by roadmancebooks

I write because I am

I write because I am

My characters tend to choose their own names…whether I like it or not. In Forecast, the character of Georgette was very determined. I tried a few other monikers: Katherine, Alice…Maggie. But no, Georgette it was. Honestly…talk about strong willed.

Baily, Bunny, Fraser, Jem, Sondra, Kate…Drum (yes…Drum!). These are some of the characters from my plays. And yes they all have surnames as well…and yes, yes, yes they certainly push their own agenda, no matter how detailed my original treatment may be.

But then there are the minor…or even minor-minor (double minor) characters. When it comes to naming these guys, I stare around at my bookshelves, searching for inspiration.

I’ll set the scene for you… Me, in front on my laptop… staring into space… nothing… so I google for a few moments… utter crap that has nothing to do with what I’m writing… such as “sex astrology” or “celebrity body language” or “apartment rentals in Bulgaria.” Once I’ve finished procrastinating, I return to my novel… and try to tune into my character’s name. If it’s still not forthcoming, I’ll look around the room.

Scan bookshelves…Nancy Mitford…Nancy…Oxford Dictionary…Dictionary? Nancy Dictionary? Nope…Nancy Oxford…done!

When that doesn’t work, I flick through a baby-naming book. I close my eyes and concentrate on my character, I flip through some pages…and wherever my finger lands…that’s the name.

And the winner is… Dante…

Unless I don’t like that name and then I’ll try again.

But there is another excellent tool for writers…with a plethora of original monikers. It’s free, easily accessible and constantly being updated. It’s called… junk mail!

Ah yes, I know spam is meant to be the bane of our existence… and it is, but I also try to be a glass half full kinda gal. I like to turn lemons into lemonade.

This morning, my glass of lemonade included a Collins Baxter, Elsie Sexton, Molly Quintana, Sarah K Macmillan, Felix Richter and a Douglas Merrideen. Pure genius! It would take me hours…wasted hours of precious writing time to make these up.

“Felix Richter stared at himself in the mirror and decided then and there it was time to shave off his beloved moustache…”

“Sarah K Macmillan glanced at her watch. He was late again…and this time he would be sorry…”

“Molly Quintana swallowed three Advil and wondered what on earth ever possessed her to have seven children…”

Love it!!!!! Any other unique character naming techniques out there?


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