Have you ever had a challenge naming your characters? Or what happens if you give your character a name that he or she doesn’t like it?
What’s In A Name?
For my romance comedy, A Servant and Two Masters, I had trouble coming up with a name for my heroine.
After I searched on a few meaning of names websites, I finally decided on naming her Maren. But my heroine had other plans. She didn’t like the name. In fact, she hated it.
I’d never had a character reject a name before…
I didn’t know what to do.
So, we argued about it. Ok, maybe I shouldn’t admit that I argue with my characters. But I do. And there’s one thing I’ve learned from those arguments, my characters always win.
Living In Your Head
There are two reasons why you shouldn’t argue with fictional people:
- To keep your sanity.
- To refrain from killing your characters.
Arguing with your characters is a losing battle. They’re going to win anyway, so you might as well give in. But I was stubborn for a time.
I wanted to keep the name Maren even though my heroine was unhappy with it. Then one day, as I was writing, another character in my story happened to call my heroine “Mari” as a nickname.
All of a sudden, Maren starts talking in my ear. She says, “That’s it. That’s my name. Call me Mari!”
I said, “No.”
Give ‘Em What They Want
Mari wasn’t a name I wanted my romance heroine to bear. It sounded too childish. But then I considered who my heroine was. She just turned twenty-one, leaving adolescence for adulthood though she’s stuck somewhere in between.
She’s immature and trying to grow as a woman. My character was right. The name truly fits her. I finally gave in and named her Mari. However, her new name posed another problem.
I needed a matching name for the hero, something slightly immature too. I decided to call him Danell and nicknamed him Danny. Their names are a perfect pair. Mari and Danny are inseparable. Now, she’s happy and so is the rest of my cast of characters.
In short, I think it’s best to give your characters the name they want. They tend to know themselves better than you think.