Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Name That Character

Many of you know that I write spiritual adventure stories about a character named Mex Stone. I’m in the midst of writing the sixth one. (They will be published this year—I’m determined!)

I’ve just spent two hours researching names. Their actual meanings. Their implied meanings. Their associative meanings. Their emotional meanings. Names, especially when it comes to characters, matter.

I can probably never have a character in one of my books named Buffy. It has too clear an association.

I can probably never have a Romeo either.
Or an Eloise. Or a Clark, as in Kent. Or Dopey, or Snoopy.

In every fairy tale I’ve ever read, the ability to name someone or something gives one power over that thing.

Naming characters can be challenging. I haunt my own bookshelves considering author names. I put surnames as given names. I try odd spellings. In my latest novel, an exotic dancer is murdered. One night when I was writing, I named her Shelley in the early evening. By the end of the evening, she’d become Shelby. In the morning, after sleeping on it, I knew. Sheba.

That’s the way it goes sometimes. When you’re naming things in your life, don’t hurry. Take your time. When you do, you’ll get the exact right one, and that should make all the difference.

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