Naming Characters: One Take On This Process

The process of choosing names for characters is one that can be undertaken with much happiness, or, at times, fraught with immense difficulties. It can sometimes be a stumbling block in writing, as, for example, the character in question is a central character through whom the action flows, and the inability to name the character may temporarily handicap the story  as a whole. There should not be reason for despair, though, if you are caught in character-naming limbo.

Naming Characters One Take On This Process

I have found that if I repeatedly think about what to name a character, the ideas do not flow easily. It is best to leave this process alone for a spell, and maybe continue writing or planning the story. You could also employ a ‘temporary’ name for a character if you have been using this for a while, but still do not know whether to stick with this, or have another name. The less pressure that exists on what to name the character, the better for the mind. This is something which is organic, and grows along with the story, and our perceptions of it, and the characters.

It is also advisable to remain open to stimuli, and not shut oneself off from the world during the process. For me, the names of characters have appeared at the most unexpected of moments. You may be traveling by car or bus somewhere, and notice the name of a town or suburb that could be useful for a character, and this opens up a whole host of opportunities you never believed possible. You may be in a mall or even in the supermarket, and a name can crop up that provides inspiration. It is just one of these spontaneous things that can happen.

If you are seeking something more concrete, it is also good to check out the many websites on the internet which deal with names, and their meanings. Here are links to some useful websites in this vein:

I have found on many instances that character names can be very evocative, and throw light on a character in a most definitive manner. For example, a character may be sweetness and light, and their name the opposite of their temperament, while, vice versa, a brazen character could have a name indicating purity and innocence. The fun that can be experienced doing this can be very enjoyable!

It is a good idea to also keep a list somewhere, such as a file on the computer, or in a notepad, of names which you find interesting. While they may not be suitable for a particular story, they may enrich another story which may be coming your way. Any which way you see it, naming characters is a process that provides much satisfaction, and challenges for writers, which should make the stories themselves more interesting, and potent to readers.


Cool, calm, collected, but with lots simmering down below the surface could describe Mark Allan. Charming, but with a sensual streak that tantalizes every woman he comes across, he is the quintessential strong but silent type. At home in either a suit or in swimwear, Mark leaves an indelible impression wherever he goes.

Mark from MARK'S PASSIONATE HEART casual shot

Mark from MARK’S PASSIONATE HEART casual shot

His entrance to his new town will be anything but inauspicious – he immediately takes the breath away of two beautiful, but very different women, and their lives will never again be the same after being with Mark…

Mark from MARK'S PASSIONATE HEART sensual pose

Mark from MARK’S PASSIONATE HEART sensual pose



MARK’S PASSIONATE HEART is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, I-Tunes, Kobo, Txtr, Blio, Indigo, and Scribd.

MARK’S PASSIONATE HEART is featured on author Susan Buchanan’s blog

Author Susan Buchanan has kindly featured my latest release, MARK’S PASSIONATE HEART, on her blog, which I invite you to check out:



The post also has an excerpt from the book which I hope you enjoy reading.

While you’re looking at the post, be sure to check out Susan’s blog and read the great array of topics which she covers:

Susan Buchanan, author photograph

Susan Buchanan, author photograph

If you would like to find out more about Susan and her books, you can find her interview on my blog here:

Have a great Monday, and a happy new week.


I have been tagged for the Work in Progress blog tour by author Emma Gray, and have nominated author Mackenzie Brown!

I have been tagged by author Emma Gray for the Work in Progress blog tour, whom I thank very much for the nomination, and chance to expound more about my book MARK’S PASSIONATE HEART. Emma’s book is POWER PLAY, the sequel to PARTY GAMES, and you can find out more about it on Emma’s blog here and it is available on Amazon. Emma can be contacted on twitter here – @emsie1979


The rules for the Work in Progress tour are as follows:

1) Provide the link back to the post by the person who nominated you.

2) Write a little about and give the first sentences of the first three chapters of your current WIP.

3) nominate four other writers to do the same (this can be adapted for your purposes).


MARK’S PASSIONATE HEART is an exploration of a man who comes to a town in the height of summer, and affects the lives of two beautiful women forever. It will be released on 15 September 2014, and is the first in a two-part series of romance novelettes. The second in the series, MARK’S RAVISHING HEART, will be released in the second half of 2015.



Chapter One: Mark Allan was walking along the esplanade, admiring the scenic sights, and those on the beach.

Chapter Two: “Oh Dana, it’s great to have you back!” Dana’s work associate Estella said to her, as they walked together to the cosmetics counter.

Chapter Three: The next day, Dana was in her department, looking over some sales reports for her section.


For the Work in Progress tour I nominate author:


*Mackenzie Brown @mackbrownbooks Mackenzie’s blog is at – 


It was great fun participating in the Work in Progress blog tour, and be sure check out Mackenzie’s work on his excellent blog.





Sabrina has been having a difficult time with life lately – while work has been progressing well, her personal life is a mess. Her marriage has become a shadow of its former self, and she does not know whether it is worth saving. After a tiring day at work, she comes home, and finds an insolent man in her bedroom.



Sabrina orders him out of her bed, and her life, but, he refuses to leave. This man will force Sabrina to face some truths in her life, but will she learn something from the experience, or be back at square one with her life, and marriage?



SABRINA’S SURPRISE VISITOR is now available on Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, I-Tunes, Txtr, and Scribd.

Can Soap Operas Help Us With Our Writing?

The soap opera medium, and how helpful is it to writing ebook fiction, is a question which has always been on my mind. Can soap operas actually help writers with the mechanics of writing, or, is it a form which is of little assistance to writers?

While soap operas and book fiction are two different forms, with alternative rules, and ways of doing things, they do have much in common. The soap opera is a form that has a beginning, middle, and no end, unlike books, which have a start and finish point. The only similarity may be book series which have several instalments. As soap operas are daily serials, broadcast five days a week, all through the year, a book, on the other hand, can be picked up, and finished whenever the reader wishes, and does not require the same level of commitment. Apart from these, there are some other differences to books that are easily discerned.

With the soap opera, the viewer is presented with the characters and story location onscreen, with little need for them to imagine what the characters look like, where they live, and what they do. In a book, the author creates for the reader the story world, either as a light sketch, or, as a full-blown depiction of the characters and their narrative world.

Another striking difference between the two mediums is the use of repetition. The necessity of this in soap operas is of paramount importance, serving, in a practical manner, to inform viewers of events they may have missed if they have not viewed several episodes. The same does not largely apply for books. If there is too much rehashing of events in a book, it may hamper the book’s appeal to readers, and, also, slow down the action. While there may be much to separate the two forms, I believe that they converge in one main way, which would be very helpful to writers.

As an example of this, I will utilize a vintage clip from the soap opera ANOTHER WORLD to illustrate this. The older clips of soap operas, in my opinion, while longer in time frame than newer episodes, displayed a great attention to characters, their emotions, and their psychological worlds, which is fascinating the watch. Exposure to these scenes would be extremely useful to writers who wish to write intense, full-blooded emotional scenes which explore a theme in great detail. I have attached one such scene from ANOTHER WORLD from 1973 between Jacqueline Courtney and George Reinholt as the on-again, off-again lovers Alice and Steve Frame, which I hope you find both interesting, and helpful.

And, as always, I will end my post with a question in which I would be interested in learning of your opinion; can soap operas help us with our writing?


Beleaguered Sabrina Casey has not had it easy lately; her marriage has been falling apart, and she has become consumed by work to forget the pain. Sabrina finds a surprise visitor in her bed when she comes home from work one day, and is absolutely livid that he has taken residence in her room. Over the course of an evening, Sabrina has a confrontation with this man she never expected to happen, but is forced to endure. Will Sabrina emerge from this experience a changed woman, or be even more confused by her marriage, and life, than she already is?

I reveal to you the cover of my tenth story, romantic comedy short story SABRINA’S SURPRISE VISITOR.



SABRINA’S SURPRISE VISITOR will be available to readers from the end of August 2014 on Amazon and Smashwords, with other bookstores to follow.