How do you know if you should name your character? #writetip There are loads of writing books that tell you not to name a character unless that character has a significant part in your novel. Well, how to you know?
I name all characters in the first draft. I don’t always understand what role a character might play until I’ve finished the novel.
At the first draft stage, I review each scene for characters that appear only once. For example, I might need a lift attendant at a ski lift for a given scene to work. If that attendant only shows up once, I remove their name. I call them by their title at work, function in the scene, whatever works to identify them.
This is also the stage where I discover who I thought might be a minor character, a walk-on, is really someone significant to the story. Since I’ve already named them, I don’t have to change anything.
I’m sure there are many ways to accomplish this, but this method works for me.