I keep notes on possible future story ideas, as I’m sure most writers do. It’s a good way to keep the story idea from haunting me and distracting me from the current WIP that I’m trying to complete. I recently reviewed that folder and found a troubling trend – names that all start with the letter A. Abby, Annie, Amanda. And then there’s Cara and Lara – two completely different characters in different books, but I just realized their names are way too similar.
Fortunately, I caught the A names early and am trying out different names for these characters. Here is where Scrivener’s name generator comes in handy. So does the project replace command (though it makes me nervous to hit that key).
I started with Annie, whose story I am only just starting to learn. I know that she’s about 30, that she is smart, and she worked hard to put herself through a state university to earn her degree in finance — the first in her family to go to college. Her parents had her young, then split up, and then they split – leaving her in the care of her paternal grandparents. Her only living relative now is her Aunt Marie, who owns a bakery.
To find a new name, I started with her parents. They were teenagers, so they’re probably more likely to pick an untraditional name than more mature parents. I settled on Summer. I’d already picked out a last name — Vaughn. So, Summer Vaughn.
I turned next to the hero — a law enforcement officer who investigated Summer for a financial fraud and now has to work with her to unravel a conspiracy. I don’t know much about him yet, so it’s hard to pick a name. But I can’t keep calling him GUY in my outline and notes, so I have a few ideas for at least placeholder names. Here’s the list I pulled from the Scrivener name generator:
Ian Daly, Spencer Mill, John Winter, Drew Somner, Jeremy Race, Caleb Winter, Jack Barnes, Kyle Bailey, Max McCullough, Adam Kittredge, Paul Sloane, Adrian Stone, Eli Layton, Shane Holmes, Lucas Pierce, Finn Carter, Zane Lawrence.
We can rule out Zane. I never quite perfected my touch-typing techniques and having to repeatedly use a capital Z will cause me no end of typos and frustration. Caleb, well — there’s some history with that name. I would prefer a short name since I’ll be typing it a lot. I’m leaning toward Ian, Eli or Jack.
It’s not a decision I have to make right now, since I don’t know when I’ll get to turn this idea into an actual WIP. But the guy’s got to have a name, right? How else do you get to know someone?