Characters – They Have a Life of Their Own

Until I had started working on my novel as my thesis, I never saw the issue of having my two main characters named Dylan and Derek. But yeah, it’s pretty obvious now that those names aren’t going to work.

I knew I had to keep Dylan’s name the same. I was married to the name and she just couldn’t be anyone but Dylan. So that meant Derek needed a name change. But what?

As I started to ponder names, I nixed nearly every name that came to me. Nothing seemed to fit with his personality and who he was. So it felt a bit like ex-Derek was fighting for a name that he liked. So I recruited my sister to start listing names to help me. She gave me lots of names to work with, but only one felt right, Chris. He fought a tough fight for his new name, and his sister did just the same.

I had never realized how much these characters had a life of their own until I tried to change something about them. Once I got to know my characters this well (you know, after two and a half years of working with them) they became people that are very real to me.

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3 thoughts on “Characters – They Have a Life of Their Own

  1. I did the same thing. For some reason or another I named three characters Sean, Seth and Sam. They were brothers. It worked our for a page or two until I couldn’t keep them straight anymore. Plus I hated the name Seth after two chapters. So, Seth got changed to Jeff. Since Sam was a minor character, it worked.

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