How does a writer of fiction name his characters?
Out of thin air? Not likely. Here are some possibilities and I’ve used them all.
Research on Internet or in books
Friends and family
Stu Summers, author of Summer’s Love, used his own name and this character is a famous author. I’ve never met Stu so I can’t say if their personalities are the same.
That’s the key, I think. The name has to suit the character. Sometimes the name comes first, other times the personality. In my book, At The Bridge, a strong, handsome man--tan and muscular because he has labored in the fields--one day brings a basket of strawberries to the residents sitting on the porch of a retirement home. I knew his name was Jack, but he needed a last name. One of the ladies that day swoons over his presence. He often has that effect on women. His girlfriend, Shirley Monroe, the manicurist at the Kut’N Loose, calls him “Baby.” Alice, who was also on the porch that day, thinks he looks like Jesus, because of his long, thick hair. His last name? Lovingood.
Jack’s girlfriend, Shirley, is a blonde and even though her hair is a mound of teased fluff, don’t be fooled into thinking her elevator doesn’t go to the top floor. Rather she is full of practical wisdom that women often find in beauty shops. She is a large-boned woman with big feet. Her perfume is loud and so is her laugh. Her last name is Monroe because she reminded me of a long ago star named Marilyn.
And so it goes. Names are fun, but names are also important and not taken lightly. My main character in At The Bridge, Agnes Marie Hopper, has the spunky spirit of my mother. I love the name Agnes, but the rest of her name came straight from my mother. She never had a middle name so she gave herself Marie. Now that takes courage. Her maiden name was Hopper and somehow it just seemed to fit Agnes. She is small and petite yet strong and agile. She has red hair though it now comes from a bottle. She is a widow who still grieves for her husband, Charlie, who was a small tobacco farmer.
At the beginning of my story, Agnes lives alone, except for her pet pig, Miss Margaret, who is a great comfort to her. The name seems like a dignified, southern name to me. I first heard it used for a relative’s cat. I knew I would have to use it some day.
Where did your name come from?
If you could choose your own, what would it be?
My daddy said he just “thunked” mine up. My sister’s middle name, Rae, came from a family friend. I have passed that name to my son as Ray.
Did you know one day we will have new names? Scripture says so and I wrote a devotional on that topic. The post date is Sunday, June 29 and if you would like to read it, or any daily devotion written by various authors, you can go to: christiandevotions.us
Names are indeed important.