Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Jane or Mary? Choosing Your Characters Name

How do you choose names for your characters?
I know some people use books of baby’s names. I’m not sure how other people do it. I find I have to develop my character first before they get a name. I come up with an idea for a story and then I start to think about it. The idea of the story begins to grow. The one in the back of my head right now, as I try to finish Death Southern Style, is set in Canada. People kept saying why don’t you write locally?

Well, I was raised in Calgary, Alberta and we just moved back to Alberta – Medicine Hat, not Calgary. So, I’m thinking I should write locally. Also, my series on the Hawkins’ family is set in Montana and I researched the Blackfoot tribe, which is also in Alberta so I’m going to use that. I’m thinking about a woman in her mid to late forties, First Nations (Blackfoot) reported replaced by a younger man. She buys an RV and decides to travel. No title for the book and write now my heroine is Jane Wolf. Wolf because it could be a First Nations name. Jane – no real reason. It sort of goes with Wolf. Not sure the name will stay but t will be my starting name. As I develop her character, family and friends the name may change, even several times.
This is how I usually choose names and they usually get changed as the story progresses and often I have to change them because several names can sound similar and confuse readers.

How do you choose names and do they change as the story progress or remain the same throughout the writing process?


  1. I think I'm more like you when it comes to choosing character names. It's all part of the writing process. Although, to be fair, many times the character will let me know what their name is. lol! Sometimes, it's a collaborative effort between MR N and myself. He'll come up with a first name and I'll come up with the last name. :)

    Good luck with your new book. I like the name Jane Wolf. Are you finding it hard to write locally?

    I'm much freer when I can create a world than to use something that already exists. It feels constricting, I guess.

    1. That's great when you can work together. So far, writing locally is good. I am taking a little license with smaller towns and building them to fit the local area so it's not totally restrictive.

  2. For me, names come from friends, family and former students. I love using the names of people who are important to me.

    1. Interesting. The names I use from people I know are always the villains or people I don't like. It's my way of getting even.
      I love that you use the names of people important in your life.