The other characters would be left without an identity: the watchman, the principal, the teacher, the neighbour and the watchman’s cat would be anonymous creatures just making a few appearances and then doing the disappearing act.
As I waded deeper into my writing career, I realized that it is extremely important to name the other characters as giving a name creates a mental picture in our mind about the character. With the picture comes the character’s looks and style of dressing in mind. It also helps us in creating more rounded characters. Nameless characters are akin to cardboard cut-outs which lack personality and appeal.
I find it easy to visualize a character after I have bestowed a name on it. For every story/book I write nowadays, I spend a little name giving names which I feel will suit my characters. Once a name drops into my mind, it brings with it a tiny mental picture of the character with it. With the mental picture in place, I weave a bit of back-story and give it a personality, looks and mannerisms.
I do try to go for unusual names, but not very exotic or tongue-twisting ones which can give the readers a verbal paralysis. Indian names by and large are not easy on the tongue. One of my CP’s who is an Indian, went nuts trying to pronounce the difficult names of my characters. Her critique was, “ I loved the first ten pages, but, honey, please go easy on the names. I had an extremely difficult time pronouncing the names.”
How are you in naming the characters? Do you spend time thinking of the names, or do you just pick a name randomly. Is it important for you to go for exotic names or you prefer simple, easy to pronounce names? Is a name synonymous with the character’s personality for you? Please share your views on naming characters.