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  • Writer's picturekristen

My Main Character Doesn't Have a Name

Have you ever had a story stuck in your head? The reel of events play in your mind. Over and over, they fight for attention.

Write me next.

You can't escape!

Put down your lunch and flesh out this scene.

Well, for nearly two decades now I've had one story trapped there on the tip of my imagination. It sits like a boat at the edge of the falls, waiting for the perfect time to descend onto the page.

I wrote a lot of this story down when I was 13. I spent hours in the summer poring over my keyboard, watching the elements come together. I proudly told others (and still do today) that I wrote 150 single-spaced pages of this story. But I never finished it … yet.

As the years pass, the story still festers in my mind. I've dreamed of these characters finding me and making me write. I've even sat down and started telling their story again, in a different way than my tween mind envisioned.

But one problem remains: my main character doesn't have a name.

Well, that's not entirely true. I've given her lots of names—but I haven't liked any enough to commit to them. Everyone else in the story's name has remained. So why is my heroine different? Why can't she be happy with the name I first gave her? Or, better yet, why can't I be happy with it?

I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that my main character is somewhat a reflection of me, so I want her name to resonate. But nothing seems to stick.

Writers, you might know my pain. How do you know you've settled on your MC's title? The moniker your reader will follow through every sigh, sword swing, battle, and romantic connection your character experiences?

How do you know you've found the one?

I'd love to start the story again, to stay with it and finish it for once, but I also want to get her name right.

But does she need a name at all? Other authors have left their characters nameless, and so could I. But since it's a story best told in third person, her name seems important.

Someday, I'll have answers to these questions. I might even find the perfect name that swipes all previous names aside and proclaims, "I'm the one you've been waiting for!" But until then, I'll keep dreaming and thinking, and maybe even writing about my character, named or not.

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