Reading and Writing: What’s in a name? You decide!

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After eight books and thirteen years of writing, the only writer’s block I’ve ever encountered had to do with naming my characters. In any given book, there has been an average of 45 characters. Many of them play fairly insignificant roles, and sometimes I’m able to get away with using a title or a position, thereby eschewing the “christening” process. But all the other characters require proper names, and in some cases, “what” they are called is a vital part of describing “who” they are.

So, here I am, wading into book number nine, inventing personalities that must be named. Luckily for me, this is the third book in the Madeline Dawkins series, so I’ve got a handful of characters that carry over into this story. But what about all the rest?

This may not sound like a daunting prospect, but try to imagine having to name several hundred children. Anyone who has thumbed through a book of names trying to accurately pin the moniker on the baby can tell you the importance of conjuring up just the right sound to identify the person that child will become. In writing, it’s really not much different, except that the personalities are already formed, and making the nuances of the character match the name is even more of conundrum. If readers can’t associate the name with the central figures’ traits, the writer might have a tough time selling the readers on the story.

This brings us back to book nine. (And no, I don’t have a name for the book yet either! That often comes near the end of writing process, and often after a good deal of head thumping.) Instead of losing several hours perusing the plethora of naming sites on the Internet, I thought it might be more fun and more expedient to ask you, the reader, what your favorite names are.

So, here’s the challenge: I’ve got good people, bad people, bad people disguised as good people, and incidental characters, all in need of names. Tell me what you think are perfect names for these roles—any name, even your own, that you’d like to see in my latest book. Or the book after that… Please, don’t hold back! If you’ve got a list as long as your arm, bring it on! I promise to create my own database with the names you give me and dip into it regularly. Who knows—if I get enough suggestions, I may never have to stare into space trying to come up with my own again!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Until next time,

Cynthia

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