How do we name our characters? Do we plan to use certain names? Or do they just come to us as we're writing?
I've been asked this question frequently over the past few weeks, and sometimes as I start to write, the characters will 'tell' me their name, or I'll think of a name not used lately and build a character around it.
Some names instantly bring a character to life, as strong Alpha-types: Jake. Nick. Josh. Blake.
Some authors go for the exotic names, Dakota, Savannah, Taylor, or even exotic spellings. Remember Krystyna? Caryn? Even Skylar. I always thought it was spelled 'Schuyler'. And in the mid-to-late '80's, 'Skye' was popular.
Sometimes if I'm hunting for a name, I'll use either my HS yearbook or the phone book, and flip to a random page. Mostly I do this if I'm looking for a last name! And time periods have to be taken into account. For instance, if I'm writing about a woman my age or slightly younger, I don't think I'd use anything too exotic, unless the backstory involved some creative names. Kathy, Tracy, and Tammy were popular girls' names, as were Brian, Matt, and John. In my oldest son's class, Kyle is popular, as is Ashley. My daughter has the Dakota, Savanna, and Alicias. My youngest has an over-abundance of Lindsays, Taylors, Ravens, Isabelles, Brooklynes, and creative spellings: Ashleigh, Emilee, Krysten, Bethanee.
In a few of the wips I've had swirling in my brain, I've had the names Misty, Krystal, Cara, and Thalia announce their names, and Misty even revealed the fact her full name is Kendra Misty Snow, which brought the topic of parents with a strange sense of humor: Naming their children Rocky Walls, Justin Case, Rainey Dayze...you get the picture.
But I also have some traditional names tossed in there. Tammy. Katherine. Cassandra. Kelly. Brian. Kevin. Joshua. Mike. Joe.
How about you? Do you like the traditional names, or do you like the more unusual ones in your reading or writing? Any names you've discovered an over-abundance of either in your kids' classrooms or in the books currently being read? I'll admit; I've discovered I've used Mike several times, but then, that's my dad's name. And as three of those particular books he shows up in aren't published yet, there's still time to edit the names.
Today on the To-Do List:
-Meeting with MIL's caretakers, to discuss tranfer arrangements to new facility
-Photography studio, to pay for football pictures and make appointment for Senior Pics
-Packing D back to work
-'Meet the Teacher' night at W's school. Which means no Laptop Society for me tonight. Bummer...one of our members is wanting help on a story he's written the past week! There's even a character named 'Ms Daniels', ha ha!