Finding Names

People are always asking how to come up with names for Characters in their books. I tell them that I lift from what Dorothy Parker did: Just open up the phone book and and start looking for names that pop out. If you make something up, it doesn’t seem to carry the right amount of weight. The names should be real to give the character something to walk around with.

Lately, I’ve been looking at the Front end of magazine and taking names off of that list – the editors and marketing folks who run the magazine. I think that perhaps they have taken great lengths to come up with their names, so they deserve to be chosen. My wife has subscriptions to Elle and Vogue, so those names, the ones in fashion mags, are ripe for the picking. Revealing more secrets I guess.

There were times when I would just go to baseball cards for names, but it was too male dominated. Looking at the metrics for who is reading the book and who is looking for suggestions on what to read next, making it too heavy male dominated might alienate the audience. You have to be thinking about these things in great detail at all times if you’re going to survive and bring these people on your pages to life. I’m excited about doing that to Sarah, but have yet to find the right last name for her. I think she’s going to be the perfect one to lead the charge. I have no physical description of what she is going to look like. I think I’m going to try and leave that completely out of the book and see how it goes. It should eliminate much of the extra language that I feels weights reading down. We shall see.

Heat wave in NY and just have to wait out this one last day before the rains come. People are talking hurricane but not sure that’s going to be really happening here, in the city. Let’s hope it passes without damage again. Nature is unstoppable. Saw the documentary on Katrina the other night and was just horrified by the strength of the outside world and the ability for us, all of us, to just turn away when we need to be looking directly at something.

We’ll learn at some point how to live. For now, I have some time to jump in and make the attempts at wrangling these pieces into a first draft. Should be interesting.


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