I’ve written so much at this point that I can’t be counted on to come up with names for a story all on my own. If I picked the first name that came into my head each time, every character would be named “Ben Tyler” or “Jake Davis” or “Jessica Miller” or something.
To pick my character names, I need piles of baby name books; I need Google Translate; I need actuarial tables.
All of this may be to my detriment. Making up names is easier than writing, so maybe this is just my way of procrastinating, like blogging or resorting all my paperbacks by the second letter of the title. And it certainly can take as much time as I let it — often more. For me, character naming can take on a life of its own.
The result of all this procrastination is that I’ve been told that I have a facility for coming up with colorful names. To be sure, my exceptionally bizarre character names like Irma Precht, Spunky DeShanski and Douglas “Woppo” Chamberlain come to mind when I choose to pat myself on the back for my writing talents — but just as many readers find my more esoteric character names annoying. I’ve been told things like, “I just couldn’t pay attention to the story because I was wondering why anyone would name their kid Arwycke.”
But coming up with completely bizarre character names is one of the few pleasures left to me in my old age, so at this point I can’t stop any more than I could stop breathing.