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I'm trying to come up with names for two female characters. They are sisters to each other and are 16 and 15 years old. I have names for them all ready but their pretty lame and I'm wondering how important the name of a character is to the story. Meaning will the story stink because I've used weak names?

Hi, Jp.

Sorry for the delay in responding. Apparently, the email wound up in my bulk email folder. I don't know that the names of the characters are really that important to the overall story. Some people, even in real life, get stuck with odd or unfortunate names. Mostly, you have to decide whether the character names fit their personal back stories. For example, my co-author and I named one girl Holly. Her mother named all of the girls after flowers. So she had sisters: Iris and Rose (twins), Jasmine and Lily. While we liked Holly's name, it was the back story that really grabbed readers and made them like the character.

So, even if you don't like the names, if you have a good reason for them to be with a solid backstory, it's all good. If you don't like the names and DON'T have a backstory, then hit the baby name books. There are dozens available in any bookstore or library and can give you lots of good ideas. Good luck!


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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