Writing Can Be Murder

July 25, 2007

Name that character!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 10:41 am

I have many weaknesses and one of them is that I do not excel at naming characters. I was having a discussion with Jennifer Colgan ( www.jennifercolgan.com ) about this very subject just last week.

Take my current WIP “Stolen” (1728 words yesterday)

I have characters named:

Chase and Chuck 

Steve and Stew

Mike and Mark

Names that sound similar (or that start with the same letter — I’ve got a Sebastian and a Chris thrown into the mix too) make it difficult to keep track of which character is which. Do not make this same mistake!  By the time I send it out, half of these names will be changed.

I’ve also realized that most of my female characters have names that end with an “e” sound. Emily, Laurie, Ginny.

And don’t get me started on last names. I tend to pick them out of the phone book.

What about you? How do you go about naming your characters? What kinds of problems do you encounter?



  1. To paraphrase our conversation from the other day, I tend to use the same letters too – I like ‘L’ for my heroines, Lauren, Laurel, Lea. In the middle of a story I’ve had to rename characters because the similarities started to get to me. There are only so many names I actually like. And since I dread the thought of actually using the name of someone I know for fear they will think I’m writing about them, I’m very limited in what I can use.

    Comment by Jennifer Colgan — July 25, 2007 @ 8:07 pm

  2. I don’t dare use the names of people I know for the same reason!

    Comment by jenniferelbaum — July 26, 2007 @ 8:24 am

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