I’ve always loved names. I can vividly remember sitting in the back of religion class, sophomore year of high school, writing a list of names that I liked. Since I’ve always considered myself a writer, I didn’t only fantasize about the names I would call my future children (but let’s not fool ourselves, I obviously did that too), I thought about the names I would call my future characters.
One of my favorite parts about beginning a new story is getting to name my characters. If I’m going to be writing about said characters for a while, through rough drafts and countless bouts of edits and revision, I need to be sure that my characters are aptly named. When I begin a story, I have a general idea of my characters’ traits, as well as the central conflict of the story. I don’t know my characters as well in the beginning as I will by the end (which is similar to the way the reader will certainly feel), but I know them well enough to know if a name “fits” or not.
In the case of the middle grade novel I just finished revising, I have four characters. The MC is Amber (gorgeous and golden; semi-precious stone). The other three characters who are central to the plot are Miranda (unique and amazing), Deonte (outgoing), and Jacob (best boy). After writing and getting to know these characters so well, I can’t imagine them with different names. They simply ARE Amber, Miranda, Deonte, and Jacob.
This morning, as I sit at the kitchen table (sadly I’m unable to be under the gazebo due to a rainy, soggy morning), I am contemplating names for the MC of the new YA novel I am about to begin. I’ve had the concept for this novel for a while, and am finally in a place where I can begin and give it the attention it deserves. I’ve been sipping my rapidly cooling coffee and flipping through the pages of 40,001 Best Baby Names by Diane Stafford (This is where I found the meanings for the characters listed above, though I didn’t look up meanings when I developed those characters.). I’m not sure how many people buy baby name books for a purpose other than naming a baby, but this girl did. After checking my own name just to be sure the meaning hasn’t changed since the last time I looked (it didn’t – God-loving), I began searching for a name for my MC (and jotted down a few potential side character names as well).
Here are the names currently in the running:
Ashlyn; Campbell; Cassie; Elana; Gemma; Katy; Mina
Things to consider:
MC is a high school student (senior)
MC is a volleyball player; a GOOD volleyball player, being recruited to play in college
I’m leaning toward Cassie, Katy, or Mina. Thoughts?
After thinking about all of the time and care I take to name my characters, I can’t imagine what it will be like to name an actual child in the future. But hey, at least I already have the book.