Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Naming Names

Hot guy photos deleted in the aftermath of an author being sued for photo use. Sorry.

Last night I was on the last stages of wrapping up a YA project (or at least wrapping it up as in all-I-can-do-with-it-at-this-point) and decided to open a new scrivener file. I have a bunch of critiquing to do this week, but I also wanted to get started on a new Cupid's Conquest story. I'd love to say this one has been bouncing around in my brain for a while, blah, blah, blah, but that would be a lie. This is a brand new shiny thing. I'm hoping it shines bright enough that it becomes one of those stories that writes itself.

So far... not so much, and all I did last night was "cast" and name the two leads. The casting was easy. I had very few pre-conceived notions about these characters other than they were athletic (which is a pretty broad defining characteristic). In minutes, I had faces to go with them. Then the naming started.

Oy! I've figured out one reason that I should stick with long running series featuring the same characters: I have a hell of a time just randomly grabbing a name because it always works out that I've used it before in another project. Don't believe me? Let's demonstrate...

  • Lily: used for minor characters in both Kiss of Death and a Badlands story I'm working on (see website under works in progress for more info on that one). Funny part? Both Lilys are... similar in their nature to the story.
  • Rafe: I started a YA about a month ago that's kind of stalled. I wanted to use Rafe for one of the guys. A quick search informed me that I'd already used Rafe as a name in another of my adult WiPs. Totally different characters, but the one in the adult wasn't exactly a throw away character where I could just pretend it didn't matter (not to mention Rafe isn't exactly... Bob or Jim or...)
  • Damon: My first thought for one of the new characters was Damon. I love the name and I could totally see him as a Damon. Remember that adult WiP I mentioned a second ago? Yeah. It has a Damon too. *head-desk*

I'm starting to think this is why JR Ward uses silly names with wonky spellings for her vampires. At least the odds of using those again is slim to none. Anyway, after much pondering (and some help from friends), my main characters have names.

I'm sure there are some of you sitting there saying "Just put in filler names." I wish I could, but that has never worked for me. Reason being, I don't see my characters as people until they have names. Case in point? As soon as I knew both their names, these new characters started talking to me, and now I can see their story so much clearer. And trust me when I say, for this one, I really need that.

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