lesley crewe


The name game…ugg.

on August 4, 2011

The first draft of my sixth novel is finished. Number seven is being mulled over as we speak. And I am running out of names.

I have so many characters rattling around in my head, I get them mixed up or I forget what book they’re in. So when I start to think of a characters name for a new story, I have to nix all the names I previously used, as well as my families names, my friends and enemies and even the names of my neighbours because it doesn’t matter what I choose, if your name happens to be the same, I’ll hear about it.

Just today, a rabid fan pleaded with me not to use his name. “Please don’t use the name BLAIR! Please. I beg you.” He must have said the name BLAIR five times. Alternatively, I have another huge fan, TOM, who insisted I name a character after him. So I did. TOM was Augusta’s husband who had a heart attack on the lawn and died. (Hit & Mrs.) And he had the nerve to complain that he didn’t have a speaking role!

Remember Donalda in Relative Happiness? She was a pill. I have the sweetest neighbour in the world and I totally forgot her name was Donalda. She mentioned it as I signed her book and I felt a little silly.

But if the name isn’t right, the character doesn’t come alive for me. And once the character is named, I can never change that name. (I had to once….the publishers didn’t want Bay who lived in Glace Bay, (even though my grandfather’s sister was Bay from Glace Bay), so I had to change it to Beth (Relative Happiness). I was determined to use it though, hence, Bay of Her Mother’s Daughter.

Elsie in Shoot Me was just an abbreviation at first because I couldn’t think of a name. I wrote L.C. for the first two pages…after myself….and L.C. quickly became Elsie.

So now I’m on the hunt again. I need three female names….two born in the thirties and one in the fifties. I looked up popular names for those years. Funnily enough the most popular girl’s names for both decades was Mary, Mary quite contrary.

I’ve even used the names of every pet I ever had growing up, for the dogs and cats in my books.

All this is to say that naming characters for a novel is a tricky business, so don’t be offended if I have to use your name or I can’t use your name.

It has to feel…write.

p.s. I will accept requests for problem people in your life. You tell me their names and I’ll kill them off, pronto. Or throw them under a bus. Something dastardly.

12 responses to “The name game…ugg.

  1. Flo Hiscock says:

    How about Florence or Cassandra.

  2. Marilyn Young says:

    I love reading your blog; it’s always godd for a laugh and I’m eagerly awaiting your sixth book. Feel free to use my name for a character anytime you wish, even if it’s a nasty character :o)

    Marilyn Young

  3. Marilyn Young says:

    It does have a lovely ring to it!

  4. Lana says:


  5. Terrilee says:

    Well, Terrilee is a nice name…………well, maybe not really.
    I named my dog Nelson after Nelson Mandela. You could use famous characters you either like or don’t like, maybe.

  6. Terrilee says:

    Hmm, an idea for your next book? That character will have to be someone who isn’t 40 with grey hair, though.

  7. deborah says:

    AUDREY…… OR ARISSA p.s. love yourbooks

  8. Natasha says:

    I like the name Clara for this time period. I don’t think my own name would work for the 30’s or 50’s but I always get a thrill when I see a character with my name!

  9. Lindsey says:


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