Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Name Game

Naming characters isn't easy, and yet the names we choose can make or break our stories. An oft-used example is Pansy, the saccharine name Margaret Mitchell almost gave her cunning, provocative heroine.

While I was writing Brute Heart, a novel set in Oregon, I found names for every one of my characters, major or minor, first name and last name, on a map of Oregon. I was amazed at the rich storehouse of names on that map--cities, towns, wide spots in the road, parks, counties, and countless topographical features. Some of the names I used were Riley (a small town), Dusty (Dusty Canyon), Cooper (Cooper Mountain), Jordan (Jordan Valley), Annie (Annie Springs), and Jude (Jude Lake).

Take a look at a map of your own state. If you don't find names for your characters there, get a detailed map of Oregon, a state that has a penchant for unusual names such as Boring, Shedd, Bakeoven, and Drain (all small towns).

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