For some reason, whenever I write, the place I always get stuck is the names. I may put too much emphasis on the importance of names in fiction. However I feel that the right name tells the audience the right things about your character. I also have an affinity for names that are clever double meanings, tells you something specific but covertly about the character's personality, or has obscure ties to something in the storyline. It doesn't help that I am a fan of such authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and Neil Gaiman. Tolkien was a linguist, and used words and names accordingly. In American Gods, the king of character development Neil Gaiman uses names to help tell the story. He uses them to obscure the identities of the gods, and uses the ambiguous name Shadow for the main character to emphasize his ambiguous roots and the fact he is basically lost at sea after the death of his wife and release from prison. As he learns more about himself and his origins, we learn more about his name. In The Graveyard Book he uses names like Miss Lupescu for the Hound of God or werewolf. The ghouls, who have obviously lost who they were before they became ghouls, receive names that are obviously ridiculously not theirs.
So, those are all serious fiction. They are well written novels by talented writers. Why should I have such a hang up on names? It would be really easy to write the whole thing then add in names afterwards. For me, though, the names will help me A. keep track of the characters and B. keep each character's, um, character in mind so I don't have them doing things out of character. That annoys me the most about poorly written fiction. Once you establish your character, you had better give me a good reason why that character does something that is outside the already established parameters. Just having them do something because it pushes the story forward or because you have written yourself into a corner and need a magic story bandaid takes me right out of the willing suspension of disbelief. You may be writing about invisible aliens attacking talking animals in anti gravity boots, but what will make me call bullshit is an action or bit of dialog that doesn't fit. It is jarring. I equate it to that moment in the Wily E. Coyote cartoons after he has walked off the edge of the cliff. At the beginning he stays up in the air, because he hasn't realized that the ground is no longer underneath him. The moment he starts falling is the moment he realizes he should be falling.
Now if you give a good reason for this out of character action and/or dialog, that is something else. In the Hobbit, Bilbo does a ton of things that are way outside his established character. However we also see how he is struggling with it, and he doesn't do anything completely out of character from the beginning. He doesn't charge into the encampment of trolls brandishing his sword and shouting. He considers his precarious position with the dwarves, and how the uncharacteristic action of stealing the trolls pouch would aid in establishing his position with the dwarves. Both actions are out of character, but one illustrates his evolution into doing the out-of-character action.
But I digress. My point is that establishing the correct names from the beginning helps me to keep my characters in character. It helps to remind me of what I had in mind for them in the first place and not make that jarring mistake. Should I even care about this if I am just writing a silly little stop motion video? Am I being over conscientious?
What's in a name? Everything.
I think I have successfully kicked myself out of the stuck spot. Now that I have articulated my reasoning I can now just do instead of agonize. Thanks for the help.