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The Name Game

pink_elephant Back when I was stuck in a cycle of starting stories but never getting to the end, part of the problem was playing the name game. I would spend hours finding the perfect name for every character like I was naming my child (or octuplets).

Naming characters is a very difficult task for me. As I've said before, I'll go thousands of words into the story before I name them. I have rules that limit me. My primary rule is that I can't use a name if I know someone with that name. For some reason those are the only names I can think of when I'm trying to name characters. It's kind of like when someone tells you not to think of pink elephants.

I always hate when I read a book with names I have trouble pronouncing, so I stay clear of complicated names. I also hate when there are characters with similar name. I inevitably confuse them at some point. Then there's some mental thing that makes some names only suitable for supporting characters. Crazy, I know, but I've never claimed to be all together sane.

I used to use baby books or baby name sites to find names, but then I'd get lost for hours looking up names of every friend and family member. I used to look at social security's popular name list, but once again I'd get distracted looking at names popular in 1909. I've never been diagnosed with ADD, but I get easily distracted so those methods don't work for me.

What's been helpful lately is watching closing credits. I look for names, both first and last names, that catch my attention. I note them and when I'm naming someone, I have a ready made list.

Are you still thinking about pink elephants? I am.