Names are Hard, Man

Names are Hard, Man

So I’ve signed up (once again) to write for the Goodreads M/M Romance group event. This year it’s Love Has No Boundaries. (That’s my prompt, but you have to be a member to follow the link. Here’s the group if you wanna join.)

One of my early steps in creating a new story is naming my characters. I need a sense of them before I can name them, but then I need the name to hang the rest of the person on, if that makes sense. (And if it doesn’t make sense, it’s still how I work.)

Clicking about to find names I liked made me decide my MC’s great-great-grandfather was Wulf Cobb. So, Cobb. Yeah, I like it. Now a first name.

I wanted Colby. It’s a good name–solid, uncommon, but not odd. I like unusual names. I think the faster a reader latches onto a character the better, and a stand-out name is going to help with that.

Are you snickering yet? One thing about naming characters that I knew but had temporarily forgotten–you have to try them out loud. Together.

“Colby Cobb.”

Umm…no. Also, did I really just try to name this guy after a cheese and a salad? I went and got a snack and hit the baby names sites again.

My guy’s a Texan, from an old ranching family. I went round and round, and finally decided I liked Colby more than I liked Cobb. So I went with Jessup. Colby Jessup. Yeah, that worked. Except…I’d already given another main character the last name Joseph because of Reasons, and I didn’t want to change it.

Winchester. Too obvious. Remington, Colter, same thing. Also, I couldn’t get colby cheese out of my head. So I ran through the history files in my brain looking for a name that could work for a ranching family that hasn’t budged since the Civil War, and I stumbled on Buchanan. I liked it, but not quite enough. However…it’s a Scottish name, and that gave me a place to look for more. Back I went to the baby names sites.

I’ll leave out the in-between, as it’s just more like that, and get to the final† name.

[redacted for content]‡, because his mother wanted him to grow up a fighter who never surrenders. Did the name fulfill its purpose?

We’ll see, won’t we?

†For certain values of final, possibly.

‡Whoops, would you believe I forgot I’m not supposed to tell the names yet?

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Writer, mom, widow. Anything else is transitory.

Posted in Writing Life Tagged with: ,
4 comments on “Names are Hard, Man
  1. Kami says:


    *is leaving now*

  2. lucette says:

    I signed up to write one, too, and I’ve been doing the same name dance. Right now I ‘m toying with Evan and Nicholas, no last names yet.

    • KD says:

      And did you also get the email reminding us not to share the names? oops! I’ve taken them out of my post. Do you want me to take them out of your comment, or can you?

      Also, WHEEE!! Welcome, fellow writer! I do love this event!

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