The right name makes a literary character complete — and memorable

My November 30, 2021 book culture column for the San Francisco Chronicle:

Every aspiring writer knows how hard it is to name your characters. I can speak from experience that way too much time can be frittered away trying out and rejecting character names. For me, the best solution is using placeholder names, hoping that the perfect name will magically pop into place when I’m not thinking too hard about it.

more …