One of my favourite bits in writing a story is naming my characters. The name has to be the right one and very often it will leap into my mind as the character takes shape, and become an integral part of the individual.
Sometimes I change names when the one I’ve chosen isn’t sitting comfortably. One story started out with a heroine named Rachel but I met a girl called Phoebe and because I really liked the name I changed Rachel to Phoebe. After a few uncomfortable weeks I realized she didn’t want to change! Rachel was Rachel and that was that. Phoebe is starring in her own story now and both girls are happy.
For my minor characters I often draw on family and friends. First names only, though. In my fictional City Symphony Orchestra (The Right Chord, The Tangled Web-- June 2010) my trumpet playing brother is Principal Trumpet and in The Tangled Web he performs a concerto with them. He loves that! My other brother is one of the percussionists and one musician friend is Principal Flute.
In my current work-in-progress I used friends as neighbours of my heroine. I told Sylvia and she thought it was hilarious. Nearly fell off her chair laughing when I added I’d given her another friend’s children--but only two of their three girls.
I much prefer to use standard traditional names not invented ones with weird spellings or ones my readers won’t know how to pronounce.
My writing name by the way, is my real first name complete with original European spelling, plus my Grandma’s surname.
What do you think about names? Any pet peeves?