Welcome. This blog was started three years ago by four aspiring writers who are now three published authors of novels and short stories (Barbara Elsborg, Dawn Jackson, Arlene Webb) and one multiple award-winning writer (Laurie Green). We blog to keep readers updated on our new releases or other random topics. We hope you enjoy your stay. :] Coffee?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Names

What is it about names in our stories? Why do we subconsciously pick names that either start with the same letter or sound the same? The number of times I realise part way through that I've got two or more characters using names with the same letter. And I didn't even realise. I can only assume it's the 'sound' that appeals. Many of my heroines have names that end with 'y' or 'ie'. I know a lot of names do!! My kids have names that end that way but I don't, nor does my husband. Nicknames tend to end in 'y' or 'ie' so I wonder if we're becoming friendly with our characters when we pick names that sound like that.
Choosing the right name is of paramount importance to me. I can't even start to write until I have the MCs names clear in my head. I might change my mind about the names of other characters but never the MCs. I have a pile of jotters from my teens with hundreds of stories - mostly fan fiction - and at the front, before the title, I've named the heroine. So I can see it was important to me then. The names I used though - yuk - Harmony, Melody, Blondie - sense a pattern?
Now my favorite name is Kate. So much so that I've used it in three novels. (Katya in one) plus Polly, Daisy, Chloe. Ahh teh 'ie' sound again.
Guys names - tend to be American style - Josh, Ethan, Nathan, plus Will, Ed, Joe, Jack (twice) Not an 'ie' in sight. Maybe that's a girl thing?

11 comments:

Dawn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawn said...

Hmmm.
If the name isn't right, I can't make the character come to life. I find that I gravitate towards older name, names that may not have been uncommon in ancient Greece or Rome or even in South America. Sometimes the names tie into the story. One I'm writing at the moment has a female character who, of course is military, Captain Cori Valentine. Love her name and little things here and there that pop up in the story have to do with "Love" whether the reader catches it or not, it's there. For example I have a weapon of mass destruction called the Eros Weapon and other things that will pop up here and there that will point back to the names of the MCs.
This is something I love to do, and if you look closely, you might see other similarites in other stories. In one story, the character's names are after kings or queens. Some of you may know which story I'm talking about. Even the name of the group of people that one of the MCs is leader of, means a couple of things, one of the things it means is Bad King (also big-bad). And the name of the seat of power, the captial city of these people, ties in as well.
Names are a big part of the story for me, and a lot of thought goes into them. A lot.
Anyone else this anal?

Laurie said...

Oh, yah, you betcha.

I'm very selective about the names of my characters. They have to "fit." In P2PC the names are all contractions or corruptions of common names today like Andrea, Ryan, Jezebel (bet you can figure out who's who).

In Draxis, two of the characters have similar names by design. Alii'us and Altus are cousins, the sons of twin brothers, and the younger of the cousins (Altus) was named to spite his uncle. Ah yes, family feuds. LOL

I take a great deal of time naming my characters, and sometimes change the names during the editing process. The odd thing is that my names keep popping up in others people's novels. Timmar (Draxis) is in Linnea Sinclair's GAMES OF COMMAND. Ryn (P2PC) is the name of one of Lisa Shearin's minor characters in her Raine Benares series that started with MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND. (Oddly enough, he's also the MCs uncle and a also a commodore. ROFL!) I even found one of my character names in Susan Grant's HOW TO LOSE AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL IN 10 DAYS but I can't remember now which name is was.

I can see writers using common names like Mary, John, or Alex, but Timmar? Ryn? And worse yet, I changed both of those names during editing (from Tiam and Tyl) due to confusion with other character names. Figures, huh?

Flick said...

Remember Adrian? I gave a character I disliked that name because I don't like it. Then decide to write a sequel and low and behold - Adrian is the MC. That taught me a lesson. Still, he turned out to be such a lovely hunk - once I'd given him a good talking to, that I quite like the name now.

Dawn said...

Ah, so you've finally made peace with him, Flick.
Just don't use the name Mitchell or I might have to come across the Pond and have a chat with you. :)

Laurie said...

*gives her character, LT Mitch Coe, a warning look*

"Back away very slowly. Maybe she won't notice you."

Flick said...

Mitch is safe - I'm not keen on that. Next one is Silver. A guy called Jonathan Silver set up an art gallery in an old mill in Shipley - near Bradford - near where I live. Salt's Mill - it's called. Its ahuge place with gallery, restaurant, shops etc and has the largest collection of David Hockney paintings in the world. Great place for a rainy day. Sadly Jonathan died - I htink of cancer - his daughter was at the same school as mine. But I love the name. Silver. Such a ring!

Laurie said...

LOL I have a horse named Silver.

(Please...no Hi Ho's. He gets that all the time.)

Flick said...

Oh dear. Lone Ranger or Tonto?

Dawn said...

HI HO SILVER, AWAY.
He he. Sorry. When you tell me not to do something... I can't resist.

Mitch. Ack. *Locks and loads. Lines up sights, slowly lets breath out and squeezes trigger....*
Have I mentioned how much I dislike that name???

Laurie said...

Dawn, I think you'll like this Mitch. He's Army, after all. :)