IWSG Day, Characters, Names & NaNoWriMo

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Happy IWSG Day! Can you believe that after today there’s only two IWSGs days left in 2019? Time sure flies. Still we’ll come together urging and supporting each other to reach our writerly goals. Thanks for making this possible goes to ninja extraordinaire Alex Cavanaugh.

The awesome co-hosts for the October 2 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Mary Aalgaard, Madeline Mora-Summonte, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

Interested in joining us? Click on the badge above. Our Twitter hashtag and handle are #IWSG and @TheIWSG.

So what’s going on with me this month?

Well, I was able to finish my new short “The Anniversary Present,” which I mentioned in last IWSG post, at 4,691 words.


But I have a problem. I’m at a loss in coming up with names for the characters and whom to base them on. At first, the second MMC was named Jason. I asked my cousin for suggestions and of all the names only Jackson was a possibility. Which then led me to think about changing the name Jason to Jax. And my female lead and first MMC is still nameless. At least I have a character image to base the FMC on, Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

the anniversary present cast.jpg

The MMCs have complementary personalities. The first MMC is sauve, compassionate and a ready smile. The second MMC is his opposite, rough, wild and adventurous. Both friends are each other’s other half. So far I’ve been thinking about possibly basing the first MMC on Nick Sagar from The Princess Switch. And basing the second MMC on Winston Duke, M’baku from Black Panther.


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Do you have any name suggestions? Other male character image suggestions?

On another note, I was walking through the train station yesterday morning on my way to work. When I saw a WeWork ad of an older ~50+ male model. Then a nugget of a May-December romance story idea came to me.

A few short hours later I’d already plotted the whole story. Now I have another story where I have to figure out my character’s names. And who to base them on. I’ve found a possible image for the male hero. But like my heroine, who’s still imageless, they both remain nameless. At least I’ve filed it away to come back and tackle writing it later. Any recommendations?


And, it’s finally October. Those of you who taking part in NaNoWriMo know what that means. There’s four weeks left to prep before NaNoWriMo 2019 begins. And this year I’m taking a second stab at last year’s postwar fantasy NaNonovel Hellsgate.

hellsgate wattpad cover

Last year’s NaNo was appalling. I was only able to write 2,461 words. So this year is my round two. And to prepare for my success, I’m going to do several things that I failed to do last year. Start drafting my novel from the middle. Listen to my Hellsgate playlist I created on YouTube while I do it. Write character interviews. Flush out my outline and plots. And prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep, prep.


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And if you’ve forgotten, here’s the theme song for Hellsgate.

Do you have trouble coming up with character names? Are you prepping for NaNoWriMo? Do you have a new story, returning to an old one, etc? Do you like the NaNo site?
PS NaNoWriMo has revamped its site and I lost all my buddies. If you want to buddy up, here’s where you can find me https://nanowrimo.org/participants/lidywilks.


    • Thanks Pat. I couldn’t believe it myself. My writing slump is gone (knock on wood). Maybe I should look into popular baby names in the 80s. My characters are in their late 30s to early 40s.


    • Thanks Alex.
      Brainstorming the names…hhmmm. Just realized I’ve brainstormed titles before (for another fantasy WIP Harbingers of El Tinor) but never did a brainstorming session for names.I’ll try tall too along with looking up popular 80s baby names.


  1. Only advice I have for you is Google it. Being Canadain, I know we all came from somewhere else. I pick an era, and a part of the world then search for most common last names. For first names, I add a year as well, look for a list of 250 or so, and then I pick through them until I strike gold.

    Good luck in the search. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t you just love Google? Don’t know where we’d be without it. As I’d mentioned before I’ll have to research a list of common/popular first names from the 80s. But as an 80s baby myself I remember distinctly how a lot of girls my age had first names ending in ‘ah’ sound. Plus I knew a lot of Shaniqua’s.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t been to the NaNo site in quite some time… Thanks for the heads up! As for character names: mine sort-of name themselves, but I do use Behind the Name site if I’m stuck (usually because the names sound too similar). Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ronel. Sometimes I’d just know without a doubt what a character’s name should be. It’s as if they’re naming themselves and going all ‘that’s my name don’t wear it out.’ And I love using Behind the Name sites.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to write all my early drafts with “Greg” for a man and “Marsha” for a woman (thank you Brady Bunch!) until I’d written enough to get to know them a little. If you have a setting and ages in mind, you might look at census records for what male/female names were popular during their likely birth year. I found that really helpful when I was naming the Menopausal Superheroes because I wanted them to seem like “everywomen” and have names that were popular in their age brackets. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the suggestion Samantha. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I love Google. The search engine makes it easier to research names for characters. Since my characters in the short are in there mid to late 30s will have to filter my search for popular boy and girl names from late 70s to mid 80s.
      And using placeholder names for your characters is rather ingenious. I could see how it frees you up to just write the story. As your character’s personalities blooms, you can use their traits to reverse search behind the name meaning, to find their names. Hhmmm…if I had to choose a placeholder name I’d go classic and use John and Jane, from John Doe and Jane Doe.
      Thanks again. 😀


    • Thank you. I thought it sounded sexy too. But then I asked my cousin his opinion and he said the name reminded him of the cleaner. Made another mistake in asking my husband for name suggestions for the other two characters….and no. Never asking family for suggestions ever again. At least I have a name for my heroine, Robyn.


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