By Anne R. Allen
“Agnes Gooch,” “Mr. McCawber,” “Albus Dumbledore”: memorable names of memorable characters.
How can writers come up with character names that readers will never forget?
In his painfully funny 2006 book, Famous Writing School, a Novel, Stephen Carter’s writing teacher-protagonist advises his students to seek character names in the obituaries. But although Carter’s bumbling protagonist offers mostly dubious advice, that tip is a keeper.
Obits are full of great names. I keep a list of odd names in a little notebook. I haven’t yet written about Normal Peasley or Lamia Trowbridge, but they’re ready when I need them.
Another great name source is spam.