When creating a character for a story, I first choose a name. Choosing names for my children was difficult, and choosing names for my characters is not any easier. Among my “how to” books, there’s a “name your baby book,” and through the years, I reached for that often. I didn’t buy the book until I started writing–long after the last one of my children was born. Today, internet research has been added to my tools for writers. Online I find everything I need to know about a name.
Two of my children have been unhappy with their names. One of my sons even signed his homework, John. That’s not his name. Actually he signed J-o-n . It only sounded like John. A daughter asked me to call her by her middle name. I couldn’t. She gave her daughter the name she wanted to be called, which is Laura. A beautiful name–my mother’s first name.
Something else a writer needs to focus on is why the character’s name was given. Was she named for a grandmother? Or was the hero in the story named for a sheriff? Or a preacher? Or a Hollywood actor?
After the characters have been named, I decide on the viewpoint character. This is often–but not always– one person who will tell the story for me. From a list of qualifications, I add to the name until the character, hopefully, becomes as real as fiction can accomplish. However, I need to add that this is a constant learning process for me.
In my first novel, which will be out soon, the protagonist is Jordan Diane Maxey. Her father gave her the name, but he had wanted a son. Jordan has violet-blue eyes and long brown hair. At age twenty-two, the college graduate longs to start her career. But she is needed at home to run the family’s farm. She grew up on the farm, and she controls her emotions well. Her opinions remain strong as she unselfishly accepts her responsibility. Facing many obstacles, she meets each challenge with determination and sometimes the use of her rifle, a skill she learned from her father.
More about other characters in the book later . . .
cCopyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols