Monday, November 15, 2010
What's in a Name?
Since I'm working on the next novel, I need to name my characters. In the past I haven't spent much time working on this. I would simply write down whatever name came to me as I was writing.
In my last novel there was one character name that I did put a little effort into. The protagonist was named Daniel Gerard Ross and there was a specific reason that he was named that. It's not obvious and that was sort of my plan for that book. All will be revealed in the next one.
He's a great shot, pretty good with his fists, and an all around capable guy. He can be very dangerous. Therefore I named him... wait for it... Dan G Ross.... Dangerous.
I know, I know it's pretty silly, but I had fun with it, and I like the name anyway.
For my next novel, I am trying to put a little more work into my character names. I think it is partly because I am putting more time into thinking about my characters, but also because I think there are times that names can reflect something about a character.
One of my new characters is a child of the sixties, a modern day hippie who lives in the wilderness outside of Silicon Valley, makes her own clothes, grows her own food, and tries hard to lessen her carbon footprint. Some people are going to love her, others, not as much.
Because of who she is, I thought it would be useful to give her a name that matched her personality. Since she was a product of hippies, I thought it would be apropos if her name was a common name used by the hippie crowd. I searched the internet and found some really strange names and decided that names like Moonjava, Snowphish, and Jazzerus were just a little too far out there. So I picked the name Hope.
I like the name because it really fits her personality. Even though it never really happens, she's always hoping that things will go better than they do. Besides it's not such a bad name for a woman.
How about you? How much time do you spend on character names? Which of your character names were picked so that they matched their personality?