How important is the name you give your characters? And how much thinking goes into names that do not confuse the reader?
Why am I asking this? Well, over the past few weeks I’ve lacked a certain mobility which means I’ve had time to read over my work in progress from the beginning and do a bit of editing. That was when it struck me! I’ve given my new detective inspector the name, Kate Rawlings. So what’s the matter with that? Well, one of my other characters is Detective Sergeant Sue Rogers and, although she is not the main character, she often pairs up Detective Sergeant Bill Murphy, who is my main character.
So, Rawlings and Rogers, the names are too similar to avoid confusion in a reader’s mind. What to do? What to do?
Well, I can’t rename DS Sue Rogers, because she’s featured in both Night Watcher, and Dead Wood. So that leaves me no choice but to rename DI Kate Rawlings. And she’s not the easiest person to deal with.
Characters, you see, often make their own decisions about names. When I was writing Dead Wood, my detective constable was called Joanne. Now I like Joanne as a name, Jo for short, but Joanne apparently didn’t take to the name at all, and I found that halfway through the book she’d miraculously turned into Louise. It was decision time. Would I do a find and replace on Louise to turn her back into Joanne, or should I do the reverse. After much thinking I came to the decision that if Joanne wanted to be called Louise, then Louise it should be.
So I’m now back to decision time and building up the courage to tell Kate she can’t be called Rawlings. But then there’s the other problem! What the heck should I call her instead, and will she make the decision for me, or is it back to the Name Dictionaries to find a suitable one? Oh, and what if she doesn’t like the new name I choose? Decisions! Decisions!
How do you name your characters? And are your characters as bolshie as mine? I’d love to know.
Amazon Author Page