Giving Up on Character Names
No, I’m not going to start numbering the people in my books, but I am hereby abandoning my obsessive need to give each character a brand new, never before used, name. A couple of years ago, I asked my assistant to go through my books (seventeen at the time) and list all the first names and surnames of my characters as well as all the place names I’d made up. I had her put an asterisk next to the names belonging to main characters so I wouldn’t reuse them — or at least not use them in books that came out right after one another. This was easy when I had one book a year, but now that my older books are being reissued, I surrender! I promise there will never be another Annie or CeeCee, but every other name is fair game!
Want to help? There’s a newborn baby in my work-in-progress and I haven’t named her yet. She’s a little colicky and her mom, Alissa, is a frustrated seventeen-year-old. Any ideas for the little one?
Remember I teach
Just have to think of certain students
Wonder where I got those names? Lol
I have another name to add:
Brenda, I love your names (-O:
Love playing with names! When I was a kid, I liked to play “teacher” so I could make up a roll call and call out the names.
I may think of names periodically…here’s a few more:
Diane, I did the same thing
Love your names Margo
How about Diane for the name? Have you ever had a character named Diane in your books? I don’t remember one.
And you get to do the real thing in school, Brenda!
Ann, I don’t think I’ve ever used my name. It would feel too weird. I did recently reread Reflection to make it into an e-book and realized there IS a CeeCee in there. Who knew??
I always liked old-fashioned and/or unusual names. Lately, though, I have heard so many new ‘different’ names that sound so pretentious that I am not sure how I feel anymore. Lol I still like Siobhan, even if most people aren’t sure how to pronounce it, and Liesel.
When I was a kid i’d play school with my mom and she always gave herself the name Suzie Rainbow… I could see a teenager using that name if she’s trying to be unique, individual, and rainbows signal at least to me hope and beauty.
joanie, you just reminded me that my brother and I used to play make believe with our mother and we named her Chocolate. LOL. I have no idea why.
How about Lexie for the baby.
My friend has four grandchildren among them Levi, Sadie, and Macy-she says her grandkids are named after jeans, a dance, and a store. LOL
However, if something is going to happen to that baby, do not use my three favorites. I am sure you will discover the perfect name. However, if it takes place in 21st century, would not use anything like the names from the 60’s or 50’s…
Now-I know this is a controversial topic…but when I love an author, and I read every single book, I become familiar with the characters (like Annie)…I do not want that author to use the same name in other books for the protagonists or other main characters (minor-that is fine and dandy)…but I do not want to read about my main character who has died…or had cancer (I think of Coast Road characters with Delinsky) or Annie with you…being alive again. These are real people after all…in my mind…
Brenda, I agree that it would be hard for me to read about another ‘Annie’ living in another book…to me, there is only 1 ‘Annie’ and she is from KEEPER OF THE LIGHT…there will never be another like her…she still remains real to me.
My vote is: Kayleigh, or Ava, or Lily
Brenda, that’s not very controversial! I thought you were going to say something juicy. I agree with you. . . but have to say that, memory being what it is, over the course of 20 books and several decades, I may screw up!
What about Lillian or Lily
I am currently pregnant and if it’s a girl (we find out in Dec.) I will name her Lilian, so I’m a bit biased 🙂 I have read all your books except the hard to track down “Lovers and Strangers” and you’ve never had a Lillian before! Although you have had a Virginia (my own name, Cole’s mother in “Private Relations”).
Lillian is a beautiful name. You have a good memory–I almost forgot about Cole’s mother. I have had a Lily, actually, one of my favorite characters. The hairdresser in Reflection. Thanks for being such a faithful reader!
That is right, Lily was a great character because she was one of the first people in the book that had went through the tragedy that was willing to forgive. I read reflections in a mad whirl, and had forgotten about Lily! Thanks for helping me remember that awesome character!
Ivie Saylor, I love that name and I like
Kerrie. Those are my two favorite names.
I did pick IVIE!!
How about Jocelyn?
…I have to confess that I met you at BEA and may have suggested you use my name then, as well. 😉
Well I really like my name, so I think you should use it. Also I have a sister who will be seventeen and her name is Alissa…so it’s only fitting. 🙂
I’m not sure if the names are too close together as far as starting with the same letter, but you could always use Angelica in another book, I’m not picky!
Bea – I think you should name the baby Bea. (And before I typed this I was reading the names others suggested and thought it was interesting that I was going to suggest Bea and Joceyln’s post stated she’d met you at BEA.)