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What’s In a Name?

I’m working on a brand-spanking new story and I’m at base camp one.  The bottom.  The outline process.  I’m at the point where I’m pouring over baby name books searching for character names and saying no to practically every one I read.  Why?

Because naming characters is hard!  Why?  Well…..

1. I always look for the meaning behind the name because I want the meaning to reflect the character.  For instance, in my last story, the name Gabriel and what it means has HUGE meaning for the plot.  Huge.  So I always want to make sure a name really does reflect the person.

2. I don’t want a name to be too common, such as Jennifer or Ashley or Kate.  Perfectly acceptable names, don’t get me wrong.  I know several people named Jennifer and Ashley and Kate.  I like those names.  But in fiction, they can get overused.  And, I fear, interchangeable.  I don’t want my Andrea who works in a publishing house to be confused with the Andrea from Devil Wears Prada.  (Not that I’m writing a story about a girl in a publishing house, but you get what I’m saying.)  Then again…

3. I don’t want the name to be too odd.  I think the episode of Friends when Rachel and Ross are coming up with names for their baby really says it all.  One word: Sandrine.

4. The Sibling Effect.  I have so many damn siblings (God love em) that I can’t name main characters after them.  1) It would be weird writing a make out scene or something using my big brother’s name.  Shudder.  And 2) I make such terrible things happen to my characters that I’d never want to inadvertently condemn them to the same fate.  However irrational that thinking is.  🙂

There are many other things that run through my mind when I’m going through the baby name book.  But the above are the top four things that really slow the process.  Hopefully though, I’ll be starting the for real writing very soon! My goal is to have at least 20,000 words done by the end of the month.  Wish me luck.

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