I know the title is ambiguous. I just want to be a little mysterious today. I am feeling sassy, can you tell? Today’s blog is about names. This is one that I think Mia Ashlinn should write but, alas, I am the one writing it.
Well, lots of things are in a name. The decision what to name a character is not a simple task. Many of you know that I beta read for Mia. We have discussed what a character’s name should be several times and at great length. There are so many things to consider when passing out names. It is as painful as naming your child. The only good thing is you don’t have to worry about crazed family member whining about naming the baby after someone.
Now, she has told me that sometimes the characters come already named. Does that sound weird? Well, it does to me and that is all that matters. Anyway, in the end, I have went through baby books by the dozens. I have a list and Mia has a list and, sometimes, we have to go through even more books to find just the right name. It has to fit the character and yet not be too common. For instance, how many times have you read the name Jack, Dylan, Ryan……you get my drift? I have nothing against those names but, if you read as much as I do, then sometimes you have trouble remembering which Jack belongs to what series. Now some are such strong characters that you have no trouble—think Sophie Oak’s Jack and Sam from the Texas Siren series. Not men you are likely to forget or, maybe, that is just me.
As much as you don’t want the name to be too common, you don’t want to go to other the extreme either. If it is hard for me to figure out how to pronounce a character’s name then it takes me out of the story as well. One example of this is Sherrilyn Kenyons’s Dark Hunters. It took me forever to figure our Acheron’s name and, when I met her, I realized I was saying it wrong all along. Not a deal breaker but still a bit annoying. If they are from a foreign country, I understand and I end up giving them a nickname in my head. Which brings me to another point.
I love nicknames for characters, especially if it is name given to them by someone special. I also like it when they have pet names. I will admit I give everyone a pet name. I am horrible with remembering names so I try and give them something that I might actually remember. I like it when a guy gives the woman a name that is special. I don’t even care if it is just Baby or Sweetie. It makes me think that by giving them a nickname, they are showing that she is special to them, that they don’t want to call her by a name that most people can use.
Still with the theme of exotic names the spelling of some of the most common names sometimes makes me think the characters owner (author) doesn’t know how to spell. I like a name like Caden that is spelled the Scottish way of Caedon but if someone spells it Kadin, it freaks me out a bit. The first time I usually think it is a typo till I figure out that they are just spelling it strange.
Now before you name a character you also have to make sure that it fits not just him but also his job. Does that sound stupid? No. Good. I think that a character’s job helps define them, so you don’t want someone who is a bull rider named Archibald. Or a ball busting woman named Willow. You want the name to be as strong as the character.
Once you have a first name, you need a last name. This may be a bit harder than picking out the first name. First, you have to make sure that it would be a name you would find in the town that your characters are living in. If it is a big city, it is much easier. But if you are writing about a small town in the middle of nowhere then it will need a backstory if it is too unique. I grew up in that kind of town. Not a lot of say Russian names to be found in the phone book. So you have to make sure it fits. Now you also have to make sure that the first name and the last name sound good together. For instance, you don’t want a Richard Peters. Yes, I do know someone named that and there were a lot of Dick Peter jokes. You also have to make sure that when you are putting the names together, you stay away from names that sound like a movie star or a porn star.
So do you have issues with character names or am I the only one??