Naming

One of the things I enjoy most about starting some new piece of writing is figuring out what everyone will be called.  Sometimes this is a brilliant process - I think of the name and the character is immediately accessible and describable and I know pretty much what they will do or say in any given situation.  LOVE it when that happens.  But sometimes I have only the vaguest idea of what sort of name a character needs, and they lurk about in the back of my brain, shadowy and irritated.  It should, they insist, be dead simple to conjure me forth.  I mean it's just a name.  How hard is that to come up with?
Well sometimes, fictional character, it's pretty darn tricky and you'll just have to accept that you may need to try on a whole bunch of first names, surnames and nicknames before I finally find the right fit and you swim beautifully into focus.

I'm writing a pitch for Radio 4 at the moment (on the off-chance that someone likes it - there is no definite pot of gold at the end of this particular rainbow), and so far my main character has changed her name twice, and so has her sister.  Someone in this particular ghost story is definitely called Claire.  At the moment this is my main character, but until this morning she was running around as a Caitlin, and looking vaguely distressed about it.  Her sister was Claire first, but then I decided to try Martha instead.  Now I am struggling to imagine parents who would pick such disparate names for their daughters, so I may have to go back to the drawing board.

I have, in the past, used baby naming websites to try and generate lists of possibilities, but more often than not all this does is supply new people who really shouldn't be cluttering up this particular story.

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