Fun,  Work-In-Progress,  Writing World

Things Writers Collect

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 herย 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 majorย and gets little floral designs painted on her nails. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚


  • sandiedocker

    Does collecting chocolate count?

    Love it when a character’s name is obvious. Hate it when I just can’t get the right one. So important to have the right character name in our head, or we can’t write the character!

    • Krystal Jane

      Chocolate always counts. ๐Ÿ˜›

      I used to really drag my feet when it came to this step because it would be so stressful! Lately it’s been a lot better though. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  • Tonja Drecker

    I’ve got a composition book and pen/pencil collection going too.
    I love your names! Like you some of mine are there right away, others seem not to want one. One of my WIPs has a main character who’s still searching for a name, and I’m 3 chapters in. Maybe I should keep a list (I’d probably loose it knowing me ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Have fun with those characters!

    • Krystal Jane

      Composition collections are the best! ^_^ I kept digital lists. I always have them with me and I can’t accidentally drop them behind my desk.

    • Krystal Jane

      I really like to make use unusual names, if they fit. I still want them to make sense, you know. You probably collect awesome books. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sunflower Michelle

    I have a growing collection of little notebooks. I find it easier to outline or hash out a story if I have notes written down in a notebook than typed on a computer. But names–I love choosing names for my characters. I’ve only had one change in this story and that was from Ethel to Ursula, just because I liked the super Victorian flavor of it–and, you know, Victoria thinks she’s a purple octopus.

    • Krystal Jane

      I prefer outlining and taking notes by hand, too. ^_^

      You definitely made the right choice with the name change! Ethel seems like an old dainty lady name. At some point all Ethels were young, but I can’t imagine. Lol!

  • Thea Landen

    I feel the same exact way about names! Sometimes they come to me right away, and other times…ugh. Just this week I was having issues naming a character of middling significance. He needed to have a nature-related name because Reasons, and it seems there are a lot more female names than male names that fit that category. After pondering it for a day, I finally decided to call him Reed…and then realized he needed a surname, too. DAMMIT.

    I keep saying I’m going to start a spreadsheet for names one of these days….

    • Krystal Jane

      Reasons! ^_^ Reed is an awesome name! A nature-related last name is tough! Good luck! You should totally start a spreadsheet. Even if I have no idea what I want or need, something is bound to stick out of all those names. ๐Ÿ˜€

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