Wednesday 17 September 2008

Wondering about... Characters Names

In my experiece the idea for a story starts with a snippet of dialogue. Before to long I have a character who said that dialogue firmly in my mind. I know what he or she looks like, sounds like, thinks and feels. Soon after that I usually know what they want out of life and how the plot is going to make sure they get it . And of course, by this time another character has sprung into existance to make sure they enjoy the journey.

Then comes the hard bit. These 3D, fully fleshed out, complicated people who live inside my head have to have a name.

I can't just keep calling them xxx and yyy for ever. Or guy 1 and guy 2, or he and she. Although I've been known to write out the whole plot using any combination of those labels for characters.

The name has to be right.

The right name will make a character complete. The wrong name will kill off the person inside my head.

Sometimes it takes a few minutes to hit on the right name. Sometimes it takes hours.

Those hours are usually spent looking through either benind the name or reading the name section of The Reader Digest Great Encycolpedic Dictionary.

Today I also invested in 40,001 Best Bady Names , so I see a lot of thumbing through that book in my future too.

My name is in there. Since we're talking about names, I will say I like mine. I like that it can apply equally to a guy or a girl. I like that it can't be shortened. It's also wonderfully easy to spell. No one can quite agree where it comes from or what it means. I've heard celtic, english and asian (usually koreen or vietnamese) origins bandied about and a thousand and one different meanings attched to it, but I think the truth is no one really knows.

Maybe that'sI like to get the meaning and the origin right when I name my characters, but for me the most important thing of all it's the sound of the name. The name has to sound like the characters personality or everything falls apart.
I'm naming the Characters in Hot + Wet at the moment. There are 4 m/m and 4 m/f novellas in that series. That's 8 guys and 4 girls to name.

The series is set is Wales, so there are a lot of Welsh names on my list of possibles.
Being bias, I like Welsh names, so I'm in my element here.
The Welsh language has 7 vowels (y and w are the extra ones in case your wondering) and it gives a lovely soft, sensual sound to a lot of the names when they're pronounced properly. The names also show up in the titles of each novella, so it's important I get them right.
I'd better go off and do that now.
Other news before I go...
For the Duration - it's coming along well. I'm almost through my first edit. It's growing a bit during edits, but I don't think it will flip over from a novalla into a novel.
Time Out - it's getting there. I'm 21,000 words into this re-write. 3 chapters left to go.
And that's it. On Friday, no doubt I will still be naming characters, so expect to hear five things about that :)

1 comment:

Liana Brooks said...

I flip through and change names until I find one that works.

Personally, I think it's easier to name a child than a character. The child will grow, changing the name and making it their own. Characters are static, they are trapped in their storyline forever, unable to branch out or reshape our world as much as a real person.