For the past several days, I've been on a mission. My objective - to name my main character. The names of my lesser characters had come quite easily. My main character is stubborn and his name just wasn't surfacing without a lot of blood loss. I've written about 25% of the story calling him various versions of Tom, Dick or Harry. But nothing fit him quite right. Every time I thought I had the perfect name, I'd plug it into the story and he would say "sorry, try again." I found myself lost at the corner of Impasse Drive without a road map.
The storyline had pretty much drawn to a halt because I couldn't picture him in my head. Yeah, I know what color hair and eyes he has, how tall he is, and what his personality is like. But I was missing that one element that could tie all those traits together and make him whole. His Name!
What magical process did I use to find his name? Being a mother of three, I approached the situation much like I did when picking names for my kids. I consulted baby name websites and made a list of my favorites. I even tried the random name generator, hoping it would magically give me the perfect name. In the end, I was still frustrated because picking his name out of 50,000 names was like finding a needle in a haystack. Impossible!
The answer finally started to unfold yesterday when I had a little alone time in my car. Summer has been a non-stop kid's party (for the kids anyway) and it was the first time I had been 100% alone for longer than a few minutes since school let out. I was listening to the radio and heard the DJ mention a name. "Hmmm, that might work," I thought to myself. I couldn't wait to get home and see what it looked like in print. Unfortunately, it just wasn't a good match for him. But the process of writing that name down ultimately lead me to writing down similar names and finally discovering his name. My main character is now 100% whole!
It's no secret that I am new to writing. To say I don't understand the craft is by far an understatement! Someday, I may be experienced enough to finish writing the story and worry about naming MC John Doe during the editing process. For now, I'm satisfied I took the time to hash out his name. I feel his character will be stronger for it. Let the writing begin!