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How does Stephen King choose character names? - Page 2

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Thread: How does Stephen King choose character names?

  1. #11
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    Default Re: How does Stephen King choose character names?

    Quote Originally Posted by fredthe3rd View Post
    Has he ever discussed this? He must have a cast of thousands across all his novels and short stories including characters that only have small roles or are just mentioned. All the surnames can't just be based on names he's heard can they?

    Other authors come up with names that sound preposterous (Dean Koontz springs to mind) - does he have a phone book and a book of baby names on his desk?

    I tried writing scripts for a few years and could easily waste half an hour trying to find a character name that sounded right (I AM easily distracted though)
    May I ask what is wrong with "preposterous" names in a work of fiction? Some authors go to great lengths to come up with "preposterous" character names as part of the story. One of the, if not THE, best at doing this was Charles Dickens: Uriah Heep, Ebenezer Scrooge, Nicholas Nickleby, Abel Magwitch, Bob Cratchit, etc., etc.,etc. The names are part of who the character is. In fact, the word "Scrooge" has become part of the English language to denote a person who is miserly thanks to Mr. Dickens. Would the character have been as memorable if Ebenezer Scrooge's name was Fred Jenkins? I think not!
    Last edited by carrie's younger brother; May 3rd, 2013 at 08:37 AM.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: How does Stephen King choose character names?

    I never noticed anything different about Koontz character names.

    It is funny to think of a character name we know as different, like they are real. Tom Cullen has to be Tom Cullen. Roland must be Roland.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: How does Stephen King choose character names?

    Quote Originally Posted by fredthe3rd View Post
    One further question: Does he decide on his roster of characters before he starts writing or is he highly skilled at quickly coming up with a name as needs be without ruining his creative flow?
    He doesn't plot out his books so he doesn't have a roster of characters ahead of time. I've never asked him specifically about it but my guess is that he puts in a name on the fly so as not to interrupt the flow and if it doesn't work well later on, he changes it. He may have mentioned that in On Writing but obviously I'm not remembering it if he did. I know he mentioned that for books with a lot of characters, e.g. The Stand, he had to have a listing of the names to refer back to to make it easier to get them right as he continued with the book.


  4. #14
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    Default Re: How does Stephen King choose character names?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moderator View Post
    He doesn't plot out his books so he doesn't have a roster of characters ahead of time. I've never asked him specifically about it but my guess is that he puts in a name on the fly so as not to interrupt the flow and if it doesn't work well later on, he changes it. He may have mentioned that in On Writing but obviously I'm not remembering it if he did. I know he mentioned that for books with a lot of characters, e.g. The Stand, he had to have a listing of the names to refer back to to make it easier to get them right as he continued with the book.
    I recently reread OW. I don't recall him mentioning in it how he chooses names. I can understand a writer plugging in a name just to keep things moving, though. I'll bet he does that a lot.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: How does Stephen King choose character names?

    There are a number of online random name generators. The writing program Scrivener has one built in that is really powerful.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: How does Stephen King choose character names?

    I've always wanted to write a story set in a town called East Clintwood.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: How does Stephen King choose character names?

    Quote Originally Posted by blunthead View Post
    I've always wanted to write a story set in a town called East Clintwood.
    I love that!!!!!!!!!

  8. #18
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    Default Re: How does Stephen King choose character names?

    Quote Originally Posted by carrie's younger brother View Post
    I love that!!!!!!!!!

  9. #19
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    Default Re: How does Stephen King choose character names?

    Quote Originally Posted by blunthead View Post
    I've always wanted to write a story set in a town called East Clintwood.

    Whose biggest employer is a factory that makes chairs. (Yes, I DO know it's a stupid post. )

  10. #20
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    Default Re: How does Stephen King choose character names?

    You're being defensive and taking it personally.
    I'll take potshots at you.
    ...I bow to your superior intellect and laser-like insight into my psyche...you'll pardon me if I don't care....

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