Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Testing characters' names

Naming characters for me is either super-hard or super-easy, never in-between. Sometimes the name and the character come together; sometimes nothing seems right, or I doubt my choice.

This week I found a way to test the name. On Google Image search now, you can type in the kind of image you're looking for, so I tried the names I'd thought of for the character with "Face" as the image type.

I can't claim that this changed my mind in any way -- I had a favorite name and found myself searching for images that fit it. But, I did find one face that seemed exactly right -- as soon as I saw it, I thought:

"That's her!"

Maybe it helped, or maybe my mind was already made up and I just didn't know it.

It was also interesting (to me) to see often the names seemed to attract a TYPE: look at Ashley (above) and Margaret (below). Neither of these were names I was considering -- I just looked up lots to see if there really is anything to do this idea. Maybe there isn't and it's just my imagination --but still, a character's name matters -- it gives the reader a mental image of the person.

These Margarets were the first three rows that came up when I entered the name, as were the Ashleys above.


alissa imre geis said...

I make lists of names the I like. I keep a list of all the names I have already chosen, characters and place names. I want all these words to go together. It is like picking a color palette.

There are so many lists of names and naming site on the internet. I used page through baby name books. You can even find sound files so you can hear a name spoken.

Then I read the lists over and over with one character in mind. If I am not sure, try putting it to the back of my mind, testing it when I am washing dishes or walking.

In my MS I often put things in brackets when I am not sure (or don't know.) Things like [L's dad] or [F's wife] (That F has since changed so reading old drafts can be a bit of a cipher.)

Right now there are two characters who have always been [B1] and [B2] but this week I mean to finally choose.

I love the Find and Replace command in MSword, because I can change a name or a name's spelling so easily.

Libby Koponen said...

Alissa! That is so interesting -- thank you for sharing it it. It is so you. The B1 and B2 idea is great-- and will let me move forward without agonizing. In fact all the ideas are really good -- I like thinking of the name palette as like a color palette, too.

Thank you!