What’s in a name?
One of the things I pay particularly close attention to when I am writing (or at least in the plotting and planning stages) is names. My main characters names are of utmost importance. Sometimes they just come to me and no matter how hard I work to change them, the character inevitably has told me their names and they refuse to change. Take Anna for example. I woke up from a dream knowing her name. I didn’t necessarily care for the name and tried to change it – but no. Anna was having none of that. She remained firmly Anna until the end. Supernaturally yours was one of those inspired stories where I felt like I wasn’t writing the tale but rather letting the tale be told through me. I was merely the conduit for the story to come out of.
Other names I research meanings and repeat them to myself ad nauseam making sure they sound good on the tongue and have the right meaning and feeling. Leeandra (Lee) was a combination of names, I liked the short form of her name and it sounded like a biker chicks name. But Lee in and of itself wasn’t enough. Even the toughest of girls can have a little softness about them. And that is what I wanted when writing Liquid Fire.
Kira was one of the only names I have ever managed to change. Originally the main character of Becoming Kira was named Kate. And the working title of the novella had been Kates Choice. However apparently there was a fairly popular book in the 1970’s by that name and I wanted to avoid confusion, so I changed the title and the main characters name. To me the main character was the everyday woman and so choosing Kate was obvious. However things change and although her name became Kira I still feel the flavor and initial intent with the name came through.
The BFF in any story has to have the feel of friendly and approachable. This is mostly accomplished by the characters personality but the name can help. Jenny and Avery, from Supernaturally Yours and Liquid Fire had the quality we all look for in a friends. Someone who has your back and is supportive but will push the main character to do what needs to be done. And perhaps most important is the ability for the main character to confide in someone.
The ‘dude’ as I affectionately call the main male character. His name typically needs to be strong and imbue a sense of modernity to him. In Supernaturally Yours, I chose Nathan. He is strong, a bit of a reformed dick who is struggling to live up to his potential. From Liquid Fire, Jeremy is a snob who can be overbearing and judgmental but Lee makes him rethink all his preconceived notions. In Becoming Kira I had two men, Dominic (Dom) and Michael, both had different qualities that their names seemed to be personified by their names.
Most of all my characters need to be believable and that means they have to be flawed. As we humans are all flawed so too should our characters both male and female. I love making my characters overcome their deficiencies and survive the aftermath.