Deb's Morning Pages

My Writing Life. One Morning at a Time.

Names Matter



What I have in front of me is a handout from my class, Cozy Mystery Plotting Sheet, a file folder of notes and several characters in need of a name. Where do I start? Which comes first, plot before characters or characters before plot? Characters, of course. I can’t fathom plotting this manuscript without all of my characters named. I only need two names. Just two. Should be simple, right? But my hope is that this will become a series and I’ll be living with the names for some time. And the names have to be just right. As I glance through my notes, I see that my sleuth’s bestfriend has several names, none of which I like.

What’s a bestfriend’s good name? Something short? Something that can have a nickname like Mo or Shel or Bon or Liv. Something ethnic? Something exotic? Naming a character begins with figuring out who the character is. I’m thinking this bestfriend is a by-the-books kind of gal. I’d had another impression of her a week ago but as I’ve gotten to know my sleuth better I’m finding out that she needs someone to ground her. She needs somebody around her who will tell her breaking in a potential murderer’s apartment in the middle of the night while the would-be killer is supposedly away (we of course know he’s on the elevator up to the apartment just as sleuth girl enters the apartment) is a bad idea. So I need a name that is short, smart and cannot have a nickname.

So glad I narrowed it down.

I just finished my Cast of Characters section on my Plotting Sheet and everyone is accounted for except for my sleuth’s bestfriend and her former co-worker. Yes, I really did believe a miracle was going to happen and the perfect name was going to pop into my head. Looks like I was wrong.

But, I will have them named by the end of the weekend. That’s a promise.



Author: Debra


2 thoughts on “Names Matter

  1. Debra – I always need to have my names in place before I can start writing. If the names don’t feel right it creates havoc with my system!

  2. I hear you. And I have her name. It just came to me and it feels right. Yay!

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