*Insert Name Here*

“Hey, it’s me. Again. Who am I? I’m your main character. You know, the one you haven’t given a name? Yeah, that’s me. Oh, yeah, and the antagonist is pretty pissed, too; and I think the minors are all creating a mob but they can’t seem to get organized because they don’t know who to name! Can you do something about this, please?”

Ever felt like your main character’s been a nagging SOB? Particularly because you can’t think of a good name for him/her? Well, that’s okay. Most authors don’t come up with their character’s real names until they’ve truly thought their characters through, dragged them through a riveting plot that’s beed edited and drafted six bajillion times. A lot of times the characters’ names define them, which is bad because then it limits how they act, what they do, who they are, blah, blah, blah, which eventually, in some way, confines your story (I just used nine commas in one sentence….so hopefully that made sense).

My point is not that you should never name your character. I mean, who wants to really hear a story where the characters have no names? There’s no fanfiction they can write if the characters don’t have names when your story hits the shelves like a tsunami. No, what I’m saying is that you should do some research on your own character–be the boss SOB and interrogate them back until they feel like you’ve put them on a figurative rack and exposed them to every single atom in the world (without managing to kill them). Then, do some more research once they “heal” and you can organize and process your earlier interrogation.

What’s also best is to do some baby name research. It helps, I swear. You find a name that just clicks in your head or it matches the things you’ve understood about who your character is as a person-creature-thing. Do this for the main characters, antagonists, protagonists, minor characters, authoritative characters, dogs, cats, wolves, three-eyed rabid, intelligent bunnies (I dare anyone to make a story with those…. That would be very interesting.)

And you may have to do a few thousand character sketches to figure out who they are before picking a good, memorable name for them.

And honestly, if your character keeps being a nagging SOB, then just give them a temporary name, and preferably one that would annoy them so you can still say “hey, I’m in charge here” and then squelch the torches and let your antagonist brood all they want. Eventually, they will thank you for being a SOB, because then they will have significant names that stand out in the fandoms and their names will be heralds of heroicism, awesomeness, romantics, or villain-ism that will be shooting stars across the entire fanfiction world.

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About writethisdownnow

Bibliophile; avid writer Biology major studying veterinary medicine.
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4 Responses to *Insert Name Here*

  1. Remember the Man with No Name Trilogy – A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – a series of spaghetti western movies staring Clint Eastwood. The main character (Eastwood) never had a name, so other characters either gave him nicknames or referred to him in other ways. Tell the sidekicks to suck it up! Your protagonist will reveal their name when the time suits them.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_with_No_Name

    • Yes, but I’m saying that if you’re stuck trying to think of a name for everybody. For the time being, put in a blank or call them something and then just remember to change it once you figure out what you want to call them.

  2. If you’re looking for a “fill in the blank” temporary name you can find a great list at http://www.cartalk.com/content/staff-credits All pretty funny!

  3. Pingback: The seven sentence character sketch - BaedonWebz

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