Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name...

How important are your character’s names?  For me, sometimes characters come with their name already there.  Sometimes I have to think and hunt to find out what it is. For minor characters I sometimes just go to a baby name sight and pick one.  But once they have their name how attached to it are you?

For me I think it depends on if the name fits or not.  I have a few names I’ve changed over time because it wasn’t right, or I got to know the character better and they told me their real name, but that generally happens fairly quickly.  I do believe there is power in names. 

The little girl we adopted last week has the same name as one of my MCs in my trilogy.  I was talking to my mom about how we were thinking of changing her name.  This is not uncommon and there were several reasons that we were considering it but at the end of the list I tagged on “AND I have a character with that name”.  She asked if I would ever consider changing that character’s name.  My immediate response was “Oh, no!  That’s her NAME.”  It surprised me a little how repulsive that idea was to me.  I couldn’t change her name any more than I could change my name or The Engineers. 

I personally don’t have a problem if they have the same name.  I know lots of people that share names and that’s great.  But I was surprised to see exactly how much a part of my characters their names have become.
What about your character’s names?  How do you get them?  Do you ever change them?  If a publisher recomended changing names would you listen?


  1. Sara,
    My characters usually come with names attached, but if a publisher wanted it changed, I would in a heartbeat! ; )

  2. LOL Zan Marie!

    Almost all my characters' names are still in flux. Juna's set, though -- to me, her name is as immutable as mine. I guess that's when you know you've picked the right one, lol.

    I let the characters tell me if their names aren't right. Usually they're honest.

    Good luck!

  3. Surprisingly a goodly portion of my characters names come from typos!!! I use the way letters sound together to match names to characters too.

  4. Zan, NOOOOOOO! Laura Grace MUST be Laura Grace. I can't see her any other way!

  5. Jill, I've had some characters tell me their names weren't right. Including the family cow. And it took forever to name the cat!

  6. LOL, my first thought on seeing the title of your post was how I finally caved and changed Rosa's name from Rose to the real Spanish version. Characters always know what their names are :-)