Good morning all. Happy Saturday. It is the last weekend in February and I feel like I haven’t accomplished a lot this month. Time is simply flying by too quick.
As always, I try and speak from personal experience only and happenings in my life as a writer, even personally. I came across an older email from an author colleague from a while back and it got me thinking for today’s post. In that email, the author wanted some help with character names. I love the process of coming up with the right names for each character. And yes, as some may have noticed in the past when I share my rituals, I have a spreadsheet of names that pop into my head, I hear on tv or read in magazines. I’ll put my own spins on some of them, and the list is so long, I don’t think I’ve even used 1/3 of them. I find the more unique ones, I’d rather save for paranormal stories, but each name has to fit the personality / quirks of the character. And I’ll cross out names I’ve used in any books, whether main or secondary characters.
Sometimes I start with a name that gets changed through from draft to draft. When I start writing a minor outline of traits for the characters (ie: eyes, age, etc.), the name I come up with doesn’t end up matching who the character evolves to be. When I have the character age firm as well, I’ll do the dreaded math to figure out what year the character was born in, then I look at the popular names from that year, for authenticity purposes. This is important to me because I wouldn’t want to see a name like Blue Ivy or North on a 50+ year old heroine/hero. Those names weren’t really thought of that many years ago and in keeping with the quality of the story, and to show that I did do some research LOL, it’s important to me and wouldn’t be authentic.
Also, one thing I do regularly when the name sticks, is research the name to get the origin of it, and variants of spelling. It’s nice to play a bit with the names, change spellings and such, and liven things up a bit. Most readers probably don’t notice names that much, spellings or even guess the origins, but as an author of the work, it is those little things (which are big to me) that matter. It’s part of my creativity process and putting 10,000% into every story. There is the odd time, I will just do something fun and not obsess too much about the name, but it depends on the story. For example, with Payback’s A Bitch, which is probably my fave story that was the most fun to write, Lark seemed to fit into the breeziness of the heroine and who she is. Not much weighed Lark down and she was all about living life to the fullest. I’m not even sure where I heard the name Lark but it seemed to work so well for her and the story.
Every author has his/her quirks and the naming of characters is one of mine. And no, I don’t figure out the ages of the characters in books I read, then look up that year, and get peeved if the author gave a name that wasn’t even thought of in that year. I’m not quite that bad. However, as the writer, I can be as anal about things as I wish to be. Authors all have those certain habits and rules they abide by that aren’t broken often.
But it is important to do some research and at least give characters names from at least around the decade of their age. Makes things a bit more believable.
That’s it for me this week. Another crazy quirk coming from the desk of Kacey. *g*
Until next week,