Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Author

Writing Advice: Need Character Names?

~ If you can’t think of a name for a character, use placeholders such as AAA and BBB and so on, moving down the alphabet for each character who lacks a name. When you finally think of a name for that character, you can use Find-and-Replace to switch out the placeholder with the name.

This is one of the best pieces of advice I ever received since I started this career. It is a MAJOR life and time saver for me. A lot of times I can’t think of names for my characters. I have several manuscripts where the heroine is named AAA and the hero is named BBB. To me AAA and BBB signify main characters now. Once I come up with a name that fits, I trade them out. Until then, I don’t let a lack of names slow me down.

Another thing I do, when dealing with last names is to use the same technique but change one letter so I know at a glance which character it is and that I’m dealing with their last name — AAA AAB and BBB BBC and so on.

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2 thoughts on “Writing Advice: Need Character Names?

  • The problem with this, though, is when you're finally editing, all your characters still have placeholder names like “Lord Poshington” and “Expendable” and you still have to come up with real names.

  • By the time I get to the editing stage, all of my characters have names. And I only use the alphabet placeholders I suggested above so it stands out if I haven't named a character yet.