The other day, Hank Green made a video, answering questions about his new book. I paused the video at one point, because he said something about writing characters that is so true.
“You put in a placeholder and that becomes their name. And you can’t ever change it because you cannot imagine that character having a different name and it’s a disaster because two of your characters’ names start with A and two start with M and you shouldn’t have that. But there it is!” – Hank Green
I have experienced this phenomenon before. I had to change character names because of my placeholders. It was one of the hardest choices I made for my novel. Zack is Zack to me, not Caleb. Even though changing the name helped the readers more, it also felt as if I lost a part of the character.
How many famous character names were originally placeholders? It’s an interesting concept to think about. Some writers create their beauty without meaning to.