My writing has hit a wall! One made out of colorful Post-its, carefully pinned to the corkboard above my desk. I’m at that point in the story where it doesn’t feel right to continue calling the characters by generic names. That worked in the beginning for practicality and momentum. Not now.
This became painfully obvious when I introduced my lead character’s sidekick. Dialogue was stifled and lacking. Liveliness missing. He needed to be named, like all things created.
From this fantasy story’s conception, he’s been called simply, “Red Man.” It’s a literal observation. Similarly, other characters had/have temporary names, e.g. Yoda-like dude (short, wise, and speaks his mind). So, I pulled out the baby-naming books and my overflowing “naming” file—full of scraps scribbled with cool-ish names that I’ve come across. I find them everywhere: books, magazines, movies, the shoe boxes at Kohl’s, name tags of service workers, and even the yearly unclaimed money/property register. I do, however, draw the line at searching the obituaries. (That’s actually a story idea in the making, hmmm . . .)
But nada. Again, I’m at a standstill. I need the perfect name and it eludes me. A solid and strong name, perhaps one from long ago that can be resurrected and recycled.
I’d love to hear from other writers! What is your character-naming process? I’m especially curious how fantasy and/or other uncommon world genre writers come up with character names.