Thursday, 16 July 2015

All Went Well With the Names Session...

Pleased to say that the session I organised for yesterday's writers' club meeting went well.

Last month one of the writers had mentioned that they had 'holding names' for their main characters, and a couple of others agreed they did this too.

Personally it's not something I've ever done. I need at least a first name that is right for the man or woman of my imagination before I start writing.

But we all work in different ways, so if a holding name works for you then go with it. Sometimes it will be the right name. The important thing is that the character in the next story doesn't have the same name too...

I'd cut people images from old magazines, flyers and brochures (before they went in the recycling bin) so there was a mixture of ages, even action shots- a runner, and a climber.

I made two tables each for male and female names -  a mixture of traditional, modern, or shortened names. Plus I had two name books, an old one from 1991, and another from 2011 - classic and modern- it also included names from other nationalities. So if anyone wanted to browse for a different name choice they could.

Finally for anyone who wasn't sure of what a character bio was and what sort of things would be included I created a short explanation and half a dozen basic questions (with an example) to get started.

As I've found when doing the bios for my characters, there will often be a statement or remark that leads me to ask, why? It can get an interesting response, or even another direction for the character to go...

It was satisfying to see a room full of writers (of all levels) creating bios and sharing their experiences and views on naming characters with one another. And then hearing the results that the images had inspired was very interesting- a few had the potential to build a story around their new character because they had answers to why their character looked/acted the way they did.

I'll be back to the latest work in progress next week when my OH goes back to work- he's been busy in the garden tidying up, now the nesting birds have gone.

So I took a couple of fruit pictures, and below it's the Gooseberries. Even fruit bushes have names, and this one is 'Careless'.

A Gooseberry bush...


  1. Thanks for arranging this, Carol. There were some interesting results.

    1. Thanks, Keith. I agree there were some interesting results, and so varied. A worthwhile session I think. :-)

  2. I know I couldn't use a holding name. Once I've started writing about a character I can't shange their name. I've tried it once or twice - the same initial letters were muddling even me in one book - but it's a nightmare having to think of them differently.

  3. I'm the same, Lizy. I have to have ja fixed name for my hero and heroine before I can write about them.

  4. I definitely need to know my main characters' names before writing or it doesn't flow the same! Your workshop sounds great.

    1. Thanks, Rosemary.

      I know exactly what you mean about the writing not flowing if you don't have the names sorted.

  5. Me too. Sometimes I may change it later, but initially I need to know what to call my character. Did you put the gooseberry's in a crumble, Carol?

  6. I can change the names of minor characters-if need be (like I did with my current hero's ex-girlfriend, the model) but my main ones have to be right for them before I start writing. :)

    I need to go and pick the larger berries shortly. It will be pie or crumble- haven't decided which yet. :-)

  7. Like you and Lizy, I need a name before I can get into it. The evening you arranged sounds like it went really well! Congratulations! Have fun on the wip when you get back to it.
    Gooseberry seems to be doing well. I didn't get a single one! Not sure what happened. My Dad gave me 3lbs from his allotment to male up for it! Four jars of jam later...

  8. Thanks, Maxi. :-)

    The Gooseberry bush is a bit overgrown at the moment, so I'm bound to get a few thorn jabs as I work through it.

    I'm not surprised your Dad had lots to share, it's been a good year for fruit.


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