Character names – there are certain names I won’t use…

Any fellow authors/writers here have to sit and ponder over names for a while just to get that perfect name for their character?

I did a blog post a while ago about how I come up with names. I have a few names that I love and I have used already (Jason and Alex are two examples that I like – well, I’m not having children, so might as well have fictional characters! I also use names from friends, inspirational people, or use names from authors I like).

Anyway, this last story idea I came up with (I fell in Love with a Psychopath), I started to sit there thinking about what name to use next. I found myself coming up with names off the top of my head that I really shouldn’t use, for one reason…

Someone I don’t like in real life, or doesn’t like me, has that name. Having a name like Sarah in a book might seem like a brilliant name to use, simple and easy to remember, but what happens if you know a Sarah and you two hate each other (I don’t, by the way, I was using it as an example. I won’t spell out real names as examples). It can be awkward sometimes.

It doesn’t mean that I think of that person (whether friend or not) and use them in my stories – name and all. I try to avoid people like that in my stories. I don’t want it getting back to me and getting bad press from them. I might use a situation or a quirk, but I’d never write them in completely.

Friends, I might do, to an extent. Maybe just borrowing their name, and maybe a quirk they have somewhere else. But then I’m worried about using a friend’s name who has a common name, and they share the same name with someone else I know that doesn’t like me from my past. I used to know four people with the same common name, three of which are friends, one no longer is. Because one of those friends is a very good friend of mine (he’d always come straight round to my house when we were teenagers and I was having a bad day and go to tescos to get junk food and swap ghost stories in our local park), I have used his name in one of my stories, but with crossed fingers!

It’s the same with last names too. I have big trouble with last names. Again, I have used last names from inspirational people, or otherwise. But not really friends though as last names are a bit more obvious, so again I try to avoid last names from people I know.

I guess this is where a name generator comes in handy!