July 11, 2013
I’m a great admirer of authors who plot out their novels, name their protagonists and then write detailed character interviews. Sounds so complete, so necessary and orderly. Yes, I’m an absolute fan of these people because sadly, I can’t do it!
I wish I could describe what type of writer I am because I don’t think a label exists…maybe head case? Because that’s what I am when I start a new book. The characters, they have to talk to me like they’re gestating or something. I started a book that is due… January 2014, thank you very much, and I’m waiting for the characters to tell me their names.
Why don’t I just tell “them” their names? Number one because they won’t cooperate with the plot if they don’t like it. My heroine threw a fit, and the scene turned out bleh until I got her name right. Then when I gave her one she can work (85,000 words with) she said, okay now let’s get with the program and figure out the rest of these characters in your opening. So far you’ve gotten them wrong. And I had.
As soon as Allison Shannon walked on scene, the rest of the characters flew right, came to attention and acted their parts accordingly.
I can’t tell you how many names Ally had before she’d cooperate. So… now I’m working on the hero. And guess what? He’s not satisfied with the ones I’ve come up with. So far, I’ve got nada. He’s over in the San Deigo Sheriffs Office writing reports or something and refusing to step forward.
This character is 30, or so I think, so I’ve looked up men’s names from The Sherilynn Kenyon’s Writers Digest Name Book, I’ve gone on line and looked at popular names in 1983, I’ve checked out Facebook. I’ve said to him, what do you think? Any of these names work for you? Not even close So far he’s not speaking.
I once asked a retired colonel what he did when his characters didn’t cooperate. He studied me askance, and said, “My characters always cooperate.”
My question for today’s readers: How can I do a character interview, or give my hero and heroine a happily ever after, when they won’t speak to me until they like their name? By the way, if you have a favorite name I’d love to hear it…I’ll run it by my temperamental hero and see what he thinks 🙂
Character names… they’re important!