Collecting Names

One thing that often slows me down when I’m writing is trying to find the right name for a character. As a result, I tend to collect names whenever I hear a good one.

I tend to pay attention to everything when I’m out and about. I look at people’s nametags, I listen into conversations, and I scan everything I can to read. Don’t worry, it’s not creepy – I’m just a writer (I swear). Some of my best material comes from stuff I’ve seen or heard around the place.

For example, I’m currently writing a book about a singer. I actually had her name for weeks before I found the character fit for it. I got her name (Brierly) from the young woman serving me at the McCafe. I had never heard the name before and loved it. I wanted to use it so I wrote it down. When I had the character, I knew she was a Brierly. So if Brierly from the McCafe is reading this, thanks for the name!

I tend to have more trouble with guy’s names than girl’s. I have my favourites and they seem to get repeated a lot. I went through a stage a few months ago where every male I wrote seemed to be called Mason. I have no idea why, I didn’t even realise it at the time. Only when I was reading back over a few things was I like, ‘hey, another Mason’, ‘oh, there he is again’. If you have some good male names, please let me know. I can’t have every guy named Mason.

For minor characters, I always find inspiration in whatever is going on around me when I need the name. I normally write either in front of the television or while listening to music. Whoever is on television at the time, gets the character named after them. Just like whoever is singing the song is christened as a character. As a result, I tend to have a lot of minor characters having the same names.

Doing that, however, is fun for me. When I’m reading through one of my books or screenplays, I can always tell what I was doing at the time of writing it by the character names. It’s like a diary for me, one that nobody else would understand. My own little secret.

If your name is character worthy, please let me know below. You never know, you might find yourself in the middle of a novel.

(2) Comments

  • Olivia
    10 Jun 2013

    Sabrina? Penelope? Hmm or for a guy Harrison, Alistair, Frederick, Garrick perhaps?

    • Jamie Campbell
      12 Jun 2013

      Good choices. I like Garrick, he sounds quite impish. He might have to go in something for sure.

Leave a Reply to Jamie Campbell cancel reply