Wednesday, December 19, 2012

YA Highway RTW: The Name Game

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic: The list of top baby names in 2012 had us talking about naming characters. How do you decide on names? Would you ever name a character after a friend/family member/ex?

I hate naming characters. It's actually worse than titles for me. I change them all the time. Sometimes when I need a name in a pinch I do what most writers do and go to When looking for names I don't go for the top names. I usually search by the meaning of the name to see if it has something to do about my characters's traits. Like in my WIP one of the character's name is Val and Valerie means strength. Val is a very strong character mentally and physically so the name fits her.

Other times when naming characters I like to have fun with the meaning. Susan Black the MC from my NaNo Novel Suspension of Disbelief has the powers to control all forms of earth. I wanted to name her after a flower so I chose the Black-eyed Susan. See what I did there. Grayson Clark was a name I had fun naming. Since the it was a superhero novel I took his name from two different superheros. Guess in the comments which two. I also played with alliteration for some names because Stan Lee does that in most of his comics to remember his character's names. I had help with Grayson's superhero persona's through a forum, but I'm still struggling with villain's names. That's something I have to do a little more research on.  

Sometimes the names just come to me. I really like having unisex names for the girls most of the time. It's just a quirk I have. I also try to avoid naming characters after people I know. It's just weird. But I can never avoid it really. There will always be some character that has the same name as a friend or coworker. When the name is right for the character there's no way around it.

That's my weird process of naming characters. It's not really my favorite thing to do, but it has to be done. Who do you do about naming characters? 

Happy Reading 


  1. I generally just go on a baby name site and skim the names until one pops out at me. I don't like naming characters after people I know either, but I keep a running list of names I hear that I like in case they fit a character in the future.

  2. I'm the opposite. I generally like naming characters but get stuck on titles. That being said, it can be a long and sometimes frustrating process searching for just the right name. When a name finally clicks it's worth it though. Thanks for sharing about your naming process. :)

  3. Naming characters is really hard! I didn't know the alliteration thing about Stan Lee, but now that you mention it... Clark Kent, Lex Luthor, Peter Parker... very cool! It does sound comic-bookish, but for an action hero story that would be a fun idea to play with.