Thursday, March 24, 2011

Characters- Are the names of your characters in your novels important? What about the titles?

Characters names are very important. Usually they name themselves. In fact, recently, I tried to change the name of one of my characters. I even took a survey of names she thought might be appropriate - and let me tell you, she didn't have many choices.

When the vote was finished, I tried to change her name and nope, she absolutely refused to change it. So what could I do? I changed it back and she's very happy about it.
That's not to say all characters are that stubborn. I had to change both hero and heroine's name on one of my other novels. Once I found the right combination, they were very cooperative and the name change was done.
To me, charachters names have to fit. Seriously, think about names for a minute. Let's take Candy - do you see her as tough, serious-minded with a man's job? I don't. I see her as a sexy, sultry woman that all the men drool over. That's not to say she can't be serious. In fact, it might be kind of interesting to write a story with her just the opposite as her name. But you'd have to make her believable to your readers. I just can't picture her as a cop or fire fighter.
It's funny how we picture people with certain names. What I might see as a pampered rich girl, others may see as a sweet, innocent needing protection. I think a lot has to do with our life experiences.
Where we grew up and how. Not to mention who we knew or know with the same name.
When I had my first child and told my inlaws what we were going to name her, my mother in law wasn't overly thrilled. She knew a girl by that name growing up and didn't like her. I stuck with the name and my mother in law learned to love her.
Funny how things like that stick in your mind.
I have a difficult times with titles. Often they don't come to me until I write the last sentence. Once in the while they'll hit me right from the beginning, but that's not as often.


Megan Johns said...

I visualise Candy as sexy, too. It's true that our life experiences and acquaintances influence our perceptions

diannehartsock said...

Sometimes its taken me days to find the right name for one of my characters. They're a stubborn lot.

Ginger Simpson said...

I agree, I see Candy in the same way. Maybe it's because I knew a Candy once who was just as you imagined. Hated her. *lol* Glad you joined the hop.

angelikadevlyn said...

I see Candy as a kind of page 3 topless model.. but then that's just me LOL Definitely not a plumbers mate, that's for sure!

Great post Roseanne. I'm following you :)

Here's my latest blog hop post! Thanks for playing along :)

And I love how you included the blog hop in your post. In wordprss I can't do that fully. It's great!


D. Renee Bagby said...

You're right. I see Candy spinning around a pole. :P Names definitely have to fit unless your character is trying to live down their name.

And yes, stubborn characters are evil.

~ D. Renee Bagby

Amy Romine said...

For me, I will toss names around forever but then one will just 'fit' and can almost make the character real, whole. It is amazing! Love it!

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Secondary characters names are important too, as I learned. I wanted to write a story about a secondary character, but I really didn't like the name I'd given her in the story. So far, her story hasn't been written. My daughter says that when she has a baby boy, she's naming him Reilly. I said, that's a girl's name. Well, it's both, but I think of a girl when I hear it now.

Roseanne Dowell said...

The one thing I did learn about names, this character could be trying to live down her name and .... her real name might be Candace, which brings a whole different character to light. Someone much more serious and maybe even studious. So... a rose isn't necessarily a rose by any other name (or however that goes). LOL

Lawna Mackie said...

I've definitely had characters that refused to have their name changed :-) Now I've learned to be careful from the get-go. Darn those characters that come to life!