Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Rose by Any Other Name....

Yeah, I know The Bard says it would still smell sweet, and I know that's true. But that doesn't mean I don't agonize over finding the perfect names for my characters.

Names have connotations for people that we want to avoid or invoke, depending on the meaning. For example, you'll probably never find a hero in either book, movie or TV show named Adolph. And remember when "The Greatest American Hero" series changed the name of the lead after someone named Hinkley shot the president? Names DO matter. That's why I spend so much time selecting them.

There are plenty of websites that will help with this chore, whether you're naming characters or expecting babies. Behind the Name is a good one. And Cool-Baby-Names has a special category of names used by Shakespeare, several of which he created. And he wanted us to believe names don't matter!

Jessica is one of his creations for the Merchant of Venice. I used that name for the HEIRESS. It just seemed to fit her. Look for Olivia, created for Twelfth Night, in my next work. If all goes well, that name will have special meaning to her.

For my heroes, I like names with a snap in them. Zach. Jack. Jake. Mack. I'm going to run out of those pretty soon. But I'll avoid the weaker names at all costs.

When I was a Tween, we had a Barbie board game. I can't remember the title, but it was something along the lines of Barbie's Dream Date. The object of the game was to wind up with Ken at the prom, but there were three other date possibilities. Two of them were not so bad, but if you got stuck with Poindexter...well, you can just imagine. It was almost better to stay at home and miss the prom.

I actually dated a Dexter when I was in college, but THAT will never wind up in a book.

J. K. Rowling does the best job of naming her characters of just about any one I've read, althought I'll give a nod to Stephen King for Stuart Redman in THE STAND. You probably have to read the book to get why, so let me just say this. If you haven't read THE STAND, do so at once!

One final thing - if you're naming a child, don't choose anything with more than ten letters. Virtually everything you can order personalized only allows ten spaces for the name. Take this advice from the mother of Christopher.

Have a wonderful day!

(Not my real name!)

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