More than one budding writer lately has asked about naming the main characters, how I go about it and how I know it’s right. So I thought that would be a fun thing to talk about today.
Here’s how the naming of heroine Kate DelVecchio from How to Hook a Hottie went down...
#1: I'd known I wanted a big, strong, Italian last name. My own--Ferraro--translates to "iron worker," and DelVecchio, from what pigeon Italian I speak, I knew DelVecchio meant "of old." I liked that. Old souls. Done.
#2: Now I thought about her persona, her traits…who she was. A serious girl, an honor student, budding entrepreneur. No matter what name appeared on her birth certificate, she would never allow herself to be called by a fun little nickname with a heart over the i, okay? (FYI: Tina looks very silly with a heart over the i. Take my word for it.)
#3: I got into the heads of the parents, specifically the mother, who I knew “wore the pants in the family.” I knew Mrs. DelVecchio had had big dreams of being a dynamo in the business world, and felt set-back by the birth of our heroine so early in her life. From this, I concluded she would name her daughter after some Grand Dame in society. Which I decided would be Katharine Hepburn.
#4: So, jump back to #1. I could go with the full name Katharine. Kat. Kate. Kitty. Kathy. Hmmm…
#5: By that time, I already had the hero’s name. Jason Dalrymple, but everyone called him Dal. It had come to me in a dream, and I simply loved it. The thing was…Dal was definitely unusual. (How many Dals do YOU know?) So I didn’t want the heroine’s name to be too different, either, too. I didn’t want readers struggling to remember both their names.
#6: So…in summary: Birth name Katharine, no cute nickname, looking for easy recognition for the reader. Kate! It was strong, pretty, very well-known…just right.
That’s how I do it. I’d love to hear from other writers about their processes, as well as from readers who have thoughts or questions (or just want to say hi)!
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