Naming Your Characters Part 2

Name tag

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:

  1. To keep your sanity.
  2. 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.

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