Friday, January 25, 2013

Naming Characters

Naming characters is so much fun!  Except when it's not!  

Sometimes names just appear on the page, as if by magic.  They're perfect.  And by 'perfect' I mean they're appropriately lyrical and hopefully flush with meaning, and also good in bed.  You know, for shouting out while in bed.  

You'd be surprised how many names this eliminates. 

Or heck, I don't know you. Maybe you wouldn't be surprised at all.  That's good with me.

First names are most important, first names and nicknames.  Last names matter less, especially in the middle ages.   For me, last names are like a frame for a picture.  They can do good work--enhance and and highlight and, well, frame--but they're not the work.

One thing I sometimes do when the perfect name doesn't magically appear on the page, is come up with words that are "flush with meaning," but would sound silly in English--like liar or sexy or magic or shapeshifter--then find translations of those words in different languages. 

This can be especially lucrative for last names and nicknames.  Yep, 'lucrative,' because the right name is wealth, isn't it?  As a reader you know that.  The perfect name is worth its weight in gold.

Can you guess which names in any of my books that appeared like magic, and which I had to work at?    
What names of fictional characters have you loved?  Any you hated?


Anonymous said...

Hi Kris! I loved most of the names, you gave your characters! The ones that "feel" magical to me: Finian Senna, Torin and Shannon. My favorites are Jamie and Eva. But didn't really like: Gryffin and Guinevere! Loved the book but not their names, sorry! I wonder why? You most have to work on the names you want to add a french nickname. Don't hesitate to ask me, I'm just an email away!

Anonymous said...

Kris, maybe, you should ask the members of your street team ? that's a good question for them. said...

Hi Nicole!

You're completely right about Senna and Finian in THE IRISH WARRIOR--those came to me from the first second. Jamie (DEFIANT) was automatic and immediate too, and once I honed in on Eva's character, her name just came out of the ether as well! You can seen I have very little control over the good ones. :) I'm thinking Torin and Shannon might be a Mary Wine book? :)

Totally understandable not liking some of the names--it matters most that you love the stories. :)