Choosing names, for me, can be a challenge. It also varies with the book. I’m a plotter so I work out a plot before I get to know my characters well.
If I’ve begun plotting and have a hero/heroine and maybe the idea for the mystery or suspense, I may have a name in mind or I might have no idea at that time.
Other times I may pick a generic name when I start writing. It’s like a placeholder. Once I’ve developed my characters and get to know them the name will come to me. It’s a name that fits that person. Often the character's physical appearance, characteristics, or actions will lead to a name that fits.
If I’m writing in a different local, perhaps Mexico or in the Caribbean, I will look up names for male or females in that country and their meaning. If I’m writing a different generation, I may look up popular names from that era. In my Hawkins’ Family series, I researched names from the Blackfoot tribe. In Death Southern Style I researched names in Louisiana.
When I’m choosing names, I look at all the characters that I’m naming. I make sure that the names aren’t similar. For example, the hero is named Rob, the secondary character is named Ron and the suspect might be Ross. For a reader, this could be very confusing. They might have to flip back to check which name it is. I don’t want to confuse a reader. They might quit reading in frustration. I will probably keep Rob as my hero if it’s a name that fits. The secondary character will be Jack and the suspect will be changed to Murray. So, I avoid similarities in names.
I also avoid names that might be difficult for a reader to pronounce while reading. Again, pulling the reader out of the story each time. It frustrates me when a character has a name I’m not familiar with and it’s spelled in another language.
I look forward to reading how other authors chose their names. I’m off to read their blogs.
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-2i7
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com