“I got a great name for our kids. A real original. You wanna hear what it is? Huh, you ready?… ‘Seven.’ – George Costanza, Seinfeld
Creating characters is easy. Sometimes liking them is hard. Sometimes remembering them is harder. Naming them? Well, I thought that was easy. Let me introduce you to the Scrivener “Name Generator.” Scrivener is an amazing piece of word processing software geared towards writing novels, developing characters and setting and keeping it all organized. So I forgive them if their Name Generator is a little suspect. Let me show you a few random results:
American Male: Daijon Norman, Maddix Koch, Xabiere Mccormick, Javin Castillo
I can’t tell you how many times it spit back Daijon like it was a biblical name.
Irish Female: Seosaimhthin Hennessy, Caoilfhionn Boylan, Gobinet Costello
I’ll stick with Kate and Erin. These are some HARD CORE Irish names.
French Female: Mistique Zenon and Delight Arabie
It’s actually a pretty good French Stripper Name Generator.
Another challenge is getting my characters in trouble so they can get out of trouble. Since I’m the omniscient author, I need to create challenges and know how they will be fixed. Sometimes, that means my character has to make a bad choice. Sometimes that backfires. Actual note from my manuscript:
Protagonist (thinking to himself): Had I been quiet when I entered the second floor?
My editor’s note: “No. He’d been a total dipshit and called out “Hola” like he was there with a six pack and a pizza.”
Turns out, in my first draft, my main character wasn’t always the smartest guy in the room, even when he was alone. He had a tendency to over-share key information, and trust people randomly. Pretty much your average dude, right? Luckily, my editor is a brilliant human of the female race, and she helped my protagonist get in touch with his feminine side. It raised his IQ 20 points and he’s looking at grad schools now.
The point of all this is that good characters take development, but first I had to put them on paper and make them start doing things before I could learn all of their shortcomings. My most interesting character, well, she’s getting more interesting. The boring ones? They’re in danger of landing on the cutting room floor. So, friends, if you think you’re in my book, you aren’t. If you don’t see yourself, I assure you it’s not because you’re boring.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The Grandfather Clock will be out on Amazon in late 2014, unless Apple likes it so much that they offer me $100 million to put it on everyone’s iPad without asking them.
Next up, Part IV: It’s all back together in one piece. But I have no idea what these extra parts are for.