Wednesday, May 30, 2012


One fun part of being an author is choosing the right name for each character.  It can be challenging when your book is set over one thousand years ago but authors use historical sources - and yes, I even use baby name websites to search for the name by sex and ethnicity to hopefully get the perfect fit.  I am also pretty choosy about having distinct names within the book.  For example, I try to to use the different beginning letters and general sounds of name because I want my readers to easily remember who each character is.  (Read Tolkien to see what I mean.  Arwen, Aragorn, Eowyn, and Eomer - I can't keep straight who is who!)  I did kind of break that rule in my evolution series because my family of men are named Drogo (evil father), Doeg (possible evil son),  David (fabulous archetypical hero).  I thought those names were different enough to keep straight but when my mom read book 2 in The Evolution Series which is about Doeg, she became very confused thinking David had lost his happily ever after somehow and was looking for a new wife.  Lesson learned, and thanks Mom!

I have recently been reading a contemporary fiction where the main character's name is True.  This has alerted me to the fact that I do not like character names that are homophonic with words we use often in speech.  "True, but if we go to the store now there will be less traffic."  Is the speaker addressing True or agreeing with a statement while suggesting an alternative.  More than once I have gone back to re-read a sentence because True or her son Guy's name have shown up in a way that confused me.  Maybe I should stop reading late at night.

I also don't like names that try too hard to assign a personality trait.  I smile at heros who are named Falcon or Rake or Python.  If I met a man with one of those names I'd just feel sorry for him.  Heroines can be just as bad with their flowery names, or heaven forbid, Chastity.  As if!  I did write a very feminine younger sister named Loulou in an American historical but that is about as far as I will go.

What names have really turned you off in a book?

Unbidden   Redeemed

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