What’s in a name, and all that

By far one of the hardest things about writing for me is choosing names for my fictitious people and places. Callie is actually the third or fourth name for that character, and while in the context of the story it’s the best fit, it’s still not my favourite, although it’s grown on me quite a bit. I’m constantly googling things like “french names for boys” or “common last names” because I can never come up with anything I like on my own. Nothing derails my writer’s flow like introducing a new character – whether significant or incidental – and having to call them something.

It’s been mentioned to me that some of my creations’ appellations are a bit too trendy, and I suppose when looked at in a group, that’s true, but I strongly resist having a book full of Joes and Marys and Bills.

Tonight I’ve actually stopped writing for the night in mid-sentence – “He introduced himself as detective…” rather than spend twenty minutes struggling to come up with something I like the sound of. That’ll be the first thing I can tackle tomorrow night with a fresh head.

It’s nice when something just clicks though. Awhile back I was on the bus coming home from work and saw a word carved into the wall of a bus shelter and knew exactly which character I’d give it to. But that’s just one name, and it’s not the one I need tonight.


Crisis Averted




  1. Zen

    You don’t have to worry about the name now. It could come to you later while you’re revising the book, and then you can simply replace it. It’s more important to focus on the story itself, and the other details can be dealt with eventually. =]

    • Ah, my linear, perfectionist nature would be driven insane by calling him ‘detective X’ or whatever for the next 300 pages. I’m not a barrel-forward-and-revise-later writer, despite my best efforts. Everything has to be juuuuust right for me to move forward. It’s probably not the best way to write, but it’s the only way I know how.

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