Some writers collect pictures.
Some writers collect research.
Me? I collect names. (And composition books. And pens.) ^_^
The sad thing is, a lot of times I still find myself scrambling around the internet looking for a more perfect fit. It’s nice when the characters tell me their names, but that doesn’t always happen, and just because it does, that doesn’t mean the story is more magical than my other stories.
With my current project – “Once There Was Chaos” – I got the name of her brother early on, and that was it. I had also just heard that name in a movie. One time, I had a character tell me her name, her fiance’s, her sister’s, her brother-in-law’s, this random guy she meets, AND the names of his best friends and family! It was incredible! Definitely beat the story I had written right before that when I had to hunt for nearly two days for the right name for a character that stared me down the entire time, scaring me a little. Lol! I finally found a name that was close enough – so I took that and rearranged it and changed some letters to get a name she was happy with. SO picky!
Like, if you’re going to be that picky, help a girl out, right?
Gathering names is like having a leaky faucet. I can’t turn it off. I’m always like, “Ooh, that’s a nice name. Ooh, that’s unique.” I end up with so many I almost don’t even want to look at them. Lol! Lately, I’ve been trying to at least separate the last names from the first names and the names that could be first or last names, even though sometimes I don’t even give my characters last names because I’m probably not going to use them much anyway.
Get this! I have a character named Legacy that I got off a podcast! Isn’t that wild? I love it! She’s not super major, but I love her all the same. She’s a theatre major and gets little floral designs painted on her nails. 🙂
I find that last names can make pretty good first names, too. Like Maddox and Clinton and Jones. Isn’t Jones a cool first name? I haven’t tried to use it, but it’s cool. I am using Maddox for the current project. She’s into swimming, but she really wants to be fashion designer. I love her, too.
Okay, I love everybody. ^_^
Picking out names is the part of the preplanning process that I dread the most. Lol! It can go by in a breeze, or it can be super time consuming and all the scenarios in between. I used to have to get everyone’s names before the story could brainstorm properly, but I learned something when brainstorming project “Blackbird Manor” (I haven’t even started this story yet, but I’ve still learned something from it already. ^_^) – I don’t need to have their names to brainstorm if I know who they are personality-wise.
I outlined several chapters of “Blackbird Manor” just calling people “the doctor” and “the banker” and “the ceo’s wife.” And that worked because I knew exactly what kind of people they were. Their names didn’t matter. A rose by any other name, right?
This was an extremely exciting discovery! It worked out really well for “Once There Was Chaos” too. It allowed the idea, once it solidified, to go “zoom zoom” in my head without me having to hold it back until I got some random person’s name right.
My main character’s name is Tatum. Isn’t that awesome! Named after Channing Tatum, of course. I was going to use it in another story, but that may not pan out, so I hijacked it. 🙂 I’m no stranger to hijacking names from other characters. I had a character named Neco once and jacked Ares from another character in the same story when I wrote Neco into a new series and left the other guy behind.
Other character names in this story are Locke, Kaya, Sergei, Quann, and Elian. Not sure where I got the last two from, but they were on my list. ^_^ Locke and Sergei came from YouTube channels I follow – they play rugby. Kaya is named after the Native American American girl doll. My Kaya is Hawaiian though. She really likes oranges!
I kind of love it when I have a head full of a bunch of random facts for characters. It makes us all that much closer. 🙂