While writing my books, I’m always in search of good names to use. I even have a list going of names I can draw on for my next book. It’s going to be set in Texas so I want good sounding Texas names, ones that evoke the sound of a sexy cowboy or lonesome cowpoke without being too cheesy about it.
One thing you won’t find on any name list of mine is a gender neutral name. I have to say that since I like my names to evoke some visual along with them in a subtle way, a gender neutral name is a big no-no for me.
So what is a gender neutral name. Chris is one. Could be Christine or Christopher. I can name a character Christine or Christopher, but they’ll never be called Chris for short. While in life, Chris is a fine name, in literature, at least my literature, it’s a murky name that requires explanation.
Don’t think this doesn’t happen in real life too. For the job I’m forced to do to pay my bills, I deal with rooming lists of names for groups that stay at the hotel I work at. For years the same group has stayed with me. It was only this year that I found out that Cassidy on that list was a GIRL! For years I’d always pictured Cassidy as a man! Imagine my surprise!
I digress …
I like names for my characters like Daniel. Strong, masculine. Sara. Feminine and old-fashioned, but spelled without the h at the end to give it a modern twist, just like the character was.
Here’s a list of some more Gender Neutral Names I’d avoid:
Skylar, Jamie, Jordan, Cameron, Jean/Gene, Sloan, Payton
So do you as a writer agonize over just the right name to fit your characters? What criteria do you use?