Barbara Delinsky Reading Group and Q&A discussion

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Names

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message 1: by Maria Renny (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Maria Renny Herdanti How do you come up with names for the characters?


message 2: by Barbara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Barbara (barbaradelinsky) | 33 comments Mod
I work at it. Rarely does a character's original name end up as the final one. I start by picking a name that I think will fit with the kind of character I'm creating. As that character evolves, the name may not feel right, so I change it.

I used to work with baby books for first names and telephone books for last names. I've even used obituary pages to find names. This is actually a good source, because I can go online to a newspaper in whatever part of the country a character is from and find a name that is appropriate to that region.

Another wonderful source, online, is the government listings of most popular names. If I'm creating a thirty-five-year-old character, I can go to the government list of the top 50 names for the year that character would have been born.

I avoid using the names of people I know. I also avoid using unisex names, which may be confusing to the reader -- speaking of which, readers often write to say that I've used their name in a book. It's pure coincidence.


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