Naming Characters

What do these names have in common? Callie, Lola, Andi, Poppy, Lelia. Yes, they’re all female leads in my books and I suspect I chose them because they’re…easy to type. I didn’t realize that until I started working on Santa Baby. See, the heroine in this book is named Arietta. (Try typing that, I’ll wait.) See? It’s a pain to type. And when you’re typing it approximately 50 gazillion times it gets to be a bit much. I learned to type more than thirty years ago (Thank you Ms. Traylor) on a manual typewriter. To this day I hit the keys very hard. It drives my husband insane, he says I type loud. I’m also a fast typist, back in my youth I could hit 100 wpm, I’m down to the low 70s now. Names like Arietta slow that down considerably. Typing has to be instinctive, from muscle memory. The words should flow directly out of your head and onto the keyboard. 

Arietta started out as Melody, but I decided I didn’t like it and switched to Aria. Aria is fairly easy to type, but for some reason I decided Arietta fitted her better. Arietta & Rondo is a fave piece of music, and she’s a singer so it just fit. 

Usually the character’s names just come to me. This is the first time I’ve had to struggle a bit to come up with the right name for the character. Lola was so strong and insistent that she defied every effort to change her name. Callie is my former roommate mom’s name. I always thought it was a pretty name and it was perfect for that character. Initially I was going to name her Denise, as I named her sisters Addie and Cynthia for the young women killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church. I gave her Denise as a middle name instead. 

Poppy, who is the heroine in Flyboy, which hasn’t been released yet, comes from a family full of kids with flower names. And yes, she has a sister named Daffodil who is an Episcopal priest. I love that story.

3 thoughts on “Naming Characters

  1. You’re right. That name is harder to type than the rest of them. I always find it interesting when authors tell me about characters that name themselves.

  2. I don’t think Arietta is that bad, would it help if you take out the one T? At least it’s not something like… Le’quizetta, you’re bond to pull a finger muscle, not to mention it’s not even acrylic nail friendly. Just saying.

  3. Some words are just harder to type than others. If you are working in Word, you can go to Tools, AutoCorrect and have the computer type the full name every time you type a shorter version. I had a manuscript with a character named Gloriana. I set it to type “Gloriana” every time I typed “glo”. Just make sure the shortened version is not a word you commonly use.

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