Friday, November 2, 2012

What's in a name?

Choosing character's names has to be the most intense portion of any character creation.  They're my babies and we all know the intense hunt for baby names!  There are gobs and gobs of websites, books and articles written on what a parent should name their baby.  Apparently it's important - no matter what Shakespeare implied...

  "What's in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet;" 
Juliet from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Hey, names mean a lot to us or we wouldn't fret over what to name our children right?  So, the same can be said about my character's names!

So, how do I choose a character's name?

It depends...

They come to me in three ways...
  • A character is born from his or her name.  I have a name in my head and a distinct personality that goes along with it.  Anna was that character.  I know what you're thinking...Anna was a secondary character!  Yeah, you know how secondary characters can be...Cropping up when we least expect it!  Anna is deep, but she keeps it bottled.  Such a simple name for a character that we've only scratched the surface with.  It's always the quiet ones.
  • A character is born without a name.  I see them as a real person that I don't know and they need a name - much like a new parent.  Unlike a new parent, these characters take on a life of their own until they begged to be named, at which time I scour certain sites for a suitable name...Brenna (you'll meet her in A Game of Cat & Mouse) was like this.  She had a face and a personality, but no name.
  • A search for one of the above brings a name into my mind that won't stop!!!  The name has to be used.  Oftentimes when I'm searching for a name I use baby name websites or this really cool app called Name-a-tron.  Not only does this app give a first name, but it supplies a last name also.  These names become characters much like the first option... Daphne (I'll share a little bit about her in a little bit) was this character.
When I notice the names are doing weird things...

What do you mean by that???

Here's a list just from A Game of Cat & Mouse!

  • Miranda is a mouse shifter.  I never intended for her name to start with a M on purpose.  It happened and half-way through the fifth or sixth read through I noticed it.  Oh but wait...It gets better!
  • Caleb is a Cougar shifter, and as with Miranda I never intended for the C to be an intentional thing. By the time I noticed these things it was too late.   Caleb was Caleb and Miranda was Miranda.
  • And to top the cake!!!!  Daphne is a wolf shifter we meet later in the book.  Daphne was one of the names that got pushed to the side for Miranda.  Why?  Oh because any Daphne has to have red hair!  Miranda has brown.  Anyways, I needed a name for a wolf shifter and she was perfect!  So Daphne with the red hair and being a wolf shifter was born!!  So, why do Daphne's have to have red hair???  Why, Scooby-Doo of course!  I didn't intentionally do this, and it was actually a friend who did a read through that pointed that out.
Have you seen any naming quirks in any of the books you've read?  If you're like me then there are several real people that you've said - oh, you look more like an Emma!

Happy Reading!

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