Thursday, May 19, 2016

Help! My Characters are Nameless...by Alicia Dean

After 25 stories, the name game becomes more and more difficult. Not only do we have to name our heroes and heroines, but we have to name countless secondary characters. I am sure I've repeated some secondary character names in my books, but hopefully, so far, no main characters.

I currently have three WIPs. (Yes, I know, I shouldn't work on more than one story at once, but they all need to be done NOW - And, I haven't spent much time writing lately, so that needs to change, ASAP). Anyway, I have names for the MC's in two of the WIPs, but not in my Gothic Mystery Romance. The story is the standard format; young woman away from home in a spooky, remote area, brooding hero... Only, my young woman and brooding hero have no names. I don't care for simple, common names, but I don't want to go nuts and all soap-opera-y and use names like Flint, Storm, Ridge, Cable, Flick, Thorne, Corner, Bicep, etc. But I also don't want names like Bill, Tom, Dick, Sally, Sue, Mary.

So...I'm coming to you with a plea for name ideas. Can you help me name my isolated young woman and brooding hero? I have a cover, does this help?

**** I also meant to ask, how do you find your characters' names?


BIO:

Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 11, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who shared the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. She is a freelance editor in addition to being an editor for The Wild Rose Press.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching (and rewatching) her favorite televisions shows like The Walking Dead, Dexter, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, Vampire Diaries, and The Originals. Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Find Alicia here:

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17 comments:

Jannine Gallant said...

I guess Heathcliff is out? How about Quentin? And for her, Bianca.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Isla is my new niece's name. Pronounced Eye-la.
Derek for him? I know a guy named Hawk. One idea is to think of the heritage of the character and google male and female names in that country...say France. You'll find a few that are easy to say/use by Americans. Have fun!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Damon and Amanda. There, that's my two cents. Character names can be difficult. Bianca and Derek could work. ;-) Family last names as first names for guys seems to work sometimes. Good luck!

RE Mullins said...

I like looking up baby name lists for different nationalities.

Alicia Dean said...

Thanks, Jannine. I like Quentin. Bianca is a name I use in my Isle of Fangs series for a very important secondary character, but I do love it! ;)

Ha, Rolynn. I LOVE Isla, but that is the ghost in another of A World of Gothic stories, funny coincidence, eh? Or, at least it's close to Isla. I'll have to check. I like Derek, and Hawke. These characters are Americans, and he's an Okie, so...nothing too exotic.

Thanks Margo. Damon is from Vampire Diaries and Amanda is my niece's name, and it's also the name of one of my close writer friends. She's part of the Martini Club 4 series. I wouldn't mind naming him after hottie Damon, though, but it might be too difficult to not picture THE Damon. Sometimes a name is perfect, but you know someone who has it and it ruins everything. :) I like the last names for guys thing.

Yes, RE, I usually do that. There are so many to choose from, though, that I get lost. I will try it again, though. It is quite helpful. Thank you!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

My characters usually come to me named...well at least the first name. In my latest, Jeremy had no last name until his patient said... Thank you Dr....?

I'm like ... Uh, Jeremy do you have a last name? LOL!

How about Rafe...that's not overly contemporary, I like Judson too...yeah, I've heard that as a first name. I like Abigail for heroine.

Good luck and God's blessing naming them!
PamT

Unknown said...

No, we can not leave your characters without names! Choosing a characters name is hard - it's like naming your children! I now keep a list of names on my phone which I've collected on my travels! I've got quite a bank of names now! When I saw your cover I immediately thought of Eathelin which is an old English girls name meaning noble waterfall , for a male character the name Aiken meaning 'made of Oak.' There have been some fantastic suggestions. Hope the ones best for your characters jump out at you 😊

Vonnie Davis said...

I get a lot of names from football and basketball players, both first and last names. I also figure out the year they were born and go to the social security site for the top 100 names for each sex born that year or a couple years earlier. I like Sebastian and have his family call him Bas. For your heroine, Charity fits her looks. I have a cousin by that name and I've always loved it. Good luck. You'll find the right name I'm sure.

Susan Coryell said...

How about Dominique and Hinton? Good luck. I like to run down the names of neighbors on on my street or go over names on a class roster when I teach a class. I learned to NEVER use family names!

Diane Burton said...

No suggestions for your character names, Alicia. I think you've gotten some good ones. For my PI mysteries, I'm using my Dutch ancestors' last names (from genealogy research) because the characters live in West Michigan which is predominately Dutch. If the character is a villain or a judge, I Google the name...just in case. My old stand-by is a baby name book. Good luck!

Leah St. James said...

I love some of the suggestions so far so I won't add anything. I try to find meaning in the name, and I also look for names in the character's background/heritage, so those name lists are invaluable.

Hubby and I have been watching Orphan Black (fabulous show from BBC, I think), and we love the name Cosima. It's a perfect name for the character. (You cracked me up with your list of soap opera names. :-))

Alicia Dean said...

I like Rafe, Pamela, but I use that in a 'not yet completed' paranormal. You know, once you give a character a name, it kind of sticks.

Wow, I love how Eathelin and Aiken have those meanings. I supposed it is a good idea to look up the meanings behind names. Thanks for the tip!

Thanks, Vonnie. I actually already used Sebastian. :) I like Charity. When I wrote my Vintage stories, I did look at popular names for the birth year. Yes, I'm sure I'll find the right names...thanks again!

I like both those names, Susan. Thank you for the tips. Haha, yeah, no family names!!

I have gotten some good ones, Diane. I love using this blog for my own selfish purposes, hehehe. ;) Yes, with the Dutch heritage, that's a great way to do it. Thanks so much!

Great suggestions, Leah. Thanks. I'll look into the backgrounds and meanings a bit. Hmmm...Cosima. Interesting name. At first, I thought you were talking about 'Orange is the New Black' and I have NO interest in watching that show. LOL, yeah, my favorite was 'Bicep' - Can you imagine? :)

Thanks so much, everyone!

MJ Schiller said...

Several years ago, on a slow day, my lunch lady friends and I came up with a list of sexy guys' names and girls' names we think are pretty. 14 books in I'm running out of names, though! Good luck! (I like Charity, too, especially for a Gothic.)

andreadowning.com said...

OK, here's my two cents: For him, Oliver or Declan, for her Germaine...but I have to say I like Sebastian for him too. My characters seem to tell me their names within minutes of starting writing. Relax and it'll come, maybe you're just too inundated with the 3 books.

Diane Garner said...

Chastity and Hamilton. Ok, so I'm not good at names. Ha! Good luck.

Susan Coryell said...

How about Lance for your hero? LOVE that name!

Alicia Dean said...

That's a good idea, MJ, brainstorming an entire list. Yes, after several books, the list would grow short. :) Thanks!

Thanks, Andrea. I used Sebastian as a prominent secondary character in Lady in the Mist. I like Declan. Oliver makes me think of Oliver Twist. :) I do think I'm inundated with the three books. It's difficult for me to start a story without having character names. The name Camille came to me, and it's starting to sound right.

You are good with names, Diane. I like both of them. :) But Hamilton is the last name of a family that I have quite a history with, so... It sucks when a great name has negative connotations, you know?

I love that name, too, Susan, but I know a few Lance's and it would be strange. :) It is a name that would go perfectly with my hero thought.

I am getting a lot of great ideas...thank you! Hey, I just thought...I need some secondary character names, too, and some of these that won't work for Hero and Heroine will work for them. Bazinga! :)