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What's in a Name?

I often wonder how people name their characters. Is it just something that comes to you when you’re writing? Does the name mean something special? Do you research it according to your novel's themes or some transition your character goes through?

For three of my manuscripts I went through different processes …

The first novel centers on a group of ocean nymphs, so I wanted the main character’s name to have something to do with water. In searching through Baby Name sites, I learned that Maya is Hebrew for “spring” or “brook”, so I used that. Not exactly "ocean", but I thought it was pretty! The rest of the names came organically.

The second novel follows a girl who discovers she's a witch. The name Trinity came to me when I first pictured this girl with unruly red hair - and it stuck.

The third manuscript has my characters firmly entrenched in the four elements, so most of the names are tied into earth and water. I made great use of the periodic table! In fact, my main character’s name is Helene, after Helium – the inert gas. It would be a spoiler if I gave you more info ☺

So how do you choose names for your characters?


About Us

Andrea Ortega, Lisa Ritter Cannon, and Nikki Katz met at a SCBWI meeting about polishing YA manuscripts. Over coffee, they critique their works-in-progress and gab about motherhood. Andrea is a former bilingual teacher, Lisa teaches legal writing, and Nikki is a former rocket scientist and current blog editor/social media czar. Join them as they blog about craft.

Follow us on Twitter: an_ortega, cannonwrites, and katzni
Check out our websites: http://www.nikkikatz.com http://www.cannonwrites.com

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June 2013
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