A fellow writer called me by my nickname the other day: Jewels (should be spelled Jules). He told me I should write a blog post about it. So, these are the names that are okay for people to call me: Julia or Jules. Yeah, you can call me funny, too, but that’s not required. The one name I don’t like being called is Julie. I have no problem with people named Julie. I know some fantastic people with the name, but I don’t feel like a Julie. At all! If my parents had wanted me called Julie, they would have named me it.
So where is this taking me and how can I tie it into writing?
When I started writing my book, the character’s names came to me quickly. It was like they were whispering their names to me as I wrote. Of course my book is set in Paris, France, so I printed off a list of common first names and surnames of French people. My main character’s name is Pierre. I love Pierre, but worried it wasn’t manly enough for him (no offense to all Pierre’s out there). I tried switching his name with a sub-character named Luc. It was not right at all. He is Pierre all the way! And Luc is Luc!
For me my characters must have the right name from the very beginning, otherwise I can’t fully develop them as real person. And they are very real to me.
For a trilogy I will write next, the characters spoke their names to me during a sleepless night. My cute and very intelligent Sophie is dying to come to life. However, one of the character’s names is not coming to me. I feel like a parent who can’t decide a name for their child after they’ve been born. Yes, he has been born in my mind. I hope to come up with a name for him, but it may not come until I start writing.
So, how do you flow when it comes to naming your characters? Do your character’s names have any weight on developing the story? Is it a must to give them a name at the very beginning? Or can you write it and have the names come to you later?