Good morning all! Bonus! We have the talented and lovely J. Paulette Forshey visiting us today and she's talking about naming characters. Paulette is also offering a giveaway...read on to find out how to enter her drawing.
Character and Name Building
Choose your characters and their names wisely for the time period you're writing. A gum chewing valley girl named Muffy in a bustier and stilettos isn't going to be dating Henry the VIII. I'm pretty sure there weren’t any Tiffany's and Buffy's, in the 1600s, but plenty in 1990s. And warrior or knight, unless it's a comedy, wouldn't say "for sure dude" when addressing a king in the 14th century.
How do you form and name your characters? Do you start with a name and build your character from there? If so how do you come up with the name, see it, hear it, or make one up? Or do you have a person in mind then come up with the name?
I've use all three methods at different times trying to get the "feel" for a certain character. One time, after naming a villain and trying to insert him into the plot, I found that no matter what I wrote it just wasn't working. The more I wrote the worse it became, to the point I nearly scrapped the entire project. Thank goodness we have to sleep, that's when the answer came to me, or in this case, the individual showed up and introduced himself. He explained to me he was my hero's best friend, not the villain. Then Nairn St. Clair (from "The Tarczal Alliance") gave me the physical description and the name of the murderer in my book.
A physical handicap or war wound might give you a nick name for an individual in your novel, like One-eyed Pete, or Lefty. How many red-haired men and women have the nick name of "Red"? I have a hero that because of his blond-white hair, plus his last name being Cynewulf, gave me the nick name of the "The Pale Wolf" for him.
Use family genealogy to help you out. I had a paternal grandfather named Armistead Roseberry Carter who owned a meat market. A sales person who came once a month to his store, and couldn't for the life of him remember Granddad's name, started calling Granddad "Frank", and it stuck for years afterwards. Grandmother Cater went by the name of Daisy, a nick name her father called her, because she was as bright and sunny as a daisy in spring. Her actual name was Lennabelle. So shake that family tree and root out names for the people in your novel.
If your characters won't help you by showing up in a dream try bouncing around ideas with your critique or writing groups. If all those can't assist you there are sites to help name that elusive hero's or heroines. Here are a few: Vampire Name Generator - http://www.emmadavies.net/vampire/? or Fantasy Name Generator - http://fantasy-name-generator.com/ or Character Name Generator -
http://www.languageisavirus.com/characternamegenerator.html and from the Writers Spot - http://thewriterspotonline.com/2010/12/15/fun-with-generators/
My favorite character name is from my friend and author Lisa Cooke's book "Texas Hold Him" her hero's name was Obediah (Dyer) Straights.
To the person who sends me the funniest or most interesting character name you've ever come across, I'll give them a copy of my e-book "33 Days Til Christmas" due out Dec. 09, 2011 and an angel wing necklace. Don't forget to include your email addy in your comment!
33 Days Til Christmas
Gabriel lie on his back and dipped his chin to look at the bundle he held tight to his chest. Pansies. Big. Spring. Purple pansies, was his first thought. He’d never seen eyes that shade on a person. Her skin, almost translucent, made the dots of pink from the cold on her cheeks stand out like paint on a doll’s face. A red and green knit cap adorned hair as black and shiny as a crow’s wing, hair that swooped forward to brush and tickle his nose.
“Sir, are you okay?” said the bundle that wiggled against him stirring things down below that shouldn’t be stirring. After all, he was an angel, and angels weren’t supposed to have stirrings.
My other books: "The Tarczal Alliance" a paranormal romance,
"Chances Taken" a contemporary romance both with Whispers Publishing, and "Cat and the Wizard" with Smashwords.
I'm working on a horror short "The Estate" due out in July 2012 from Whispers, and the next in my Tarczal series titled "The Archway".
Bio: Paulette lives in a small Ohio town with her husband, a Basset Hound, and a Jack Russell who thinks she owns the place. Her mornings belong to her writing, her days are spent loving her five grandbabies, and her nights belong to her husband, the inspiration for her heroes. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Central Ohio Fiction Writers, Southeastern Ohio Novel Writing Group, Northeast Ohio Romance Writers of America, and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter of RWA. She also writes under the name of Genevieve Delacroix.
My web site: www.jpauletteforshey.com
-- Lynda Again
Thanks for a great post, Paulette! And good luck to all who enter her drawing. I'm waiting to see what funny or unusual names come up ;-)
Have a Blessed Day!