I’m not sure how coherent this will be because Boone has been doing his weird wanderings and both LG and I are still walking the edge of sleep deprivation. I’d just dropped off to sleep yesterday afternoon for a nap when the dang dog decided to dig his way to Narnia in the wall behind the headboard–which is a space even little Loki has trouble squeezing into and we all know cats are liquid. Big dogs? Not so much. The ol’ brain ain’t firin’ on all cylinders and I’m a bit grumpy as I’m typing this. 😠
Anyway, names. As a writer, I collect names and I have this really big deal about names matching characters–not just their personalities but their backgrounds and ethnic heritage. I went round and round with a beginning writer because she was using classical Greek names for her Celtic immortals. Why? Because she liked those names. I asked her why she didn’t make them Greek in origin and she replied that the whole premise was based on Celtic legend. Yeah…well…
What triggered this whole train of thought? This goes back to my first published series, Faerie Reign. The hero in the second book is named Duncan Ross. He’s Scottish. And yes, originally, the story was based on “The Highlander” series (I’m not embarrassed to say that it started life as a bit of fan fiction) and the character was immortal. For the Faerie books, Duncan McLeod became Duncan Ross and he was reincarnated. Welpers, I came across a book over the weekend wheren the hero’s name was Duncan Ross. It made me stop and go…wait, what?!?!
Am I upset? Not really but sort of. At the time, I’d done a lot of research on the name “Duncan Ross” to make sure I wasn’t using a real persons name–or at least a notable real person. My point is, I spend a lot of time working on names. I want them to fit the character. I want them to sound cool. I want first and last names to sound like…well, like they go together and that “person” has had that name all their life. Yes, I do have more than one name-the-baby book on my desk. And yes, I probably spend way too much time scouring them to find the combination that just sounds right.
But, but… Yes, I see a couple of hands going up wanting to ask about some of the names in The Penumbra Papers. Yes, the FBI director’s name is George Bailey. Yes, his assistant’s name is Alice Cooper. Those books have a different tone, often have “Easter eggs” in them, and the characters are secondary. It’s a way to add a little tongue-in-cheek fun to the books. And if you really look at those characters, their names fit the characters, or the characters fit the names. Take your pick. 😉
So, no hard and fast rules, just my preferences, and yes, when I’m reading other’s books, I do roll my eyes over some of the name choices. I’m curious about how readers feel. Are names important to you? Do you have some favorite characters with cool names? Do you sometimes wonder what the author was thinkin’ (or smokin’/drinkin’) when they name a character? And most important, do any of my characters have names you hate? Inquiring minds want to know!
Also, here’s my tip for a treat. True story. I had a big ol’ cup of coffee prepped and ready–hot, creamy, sweet, and full of caffeine goodness. And then life happened. I had to walk away from it. For some totally bizarre reason, I stuck the travel cup in the freezer. Sleep deprived brain, remember? And that was only my second cup so I was also cafeine deprived. I went off to deal with life and splurged on a Starbucks Frappucino on the way home. Later, I was looking for my coffee cup. And finally found it when I was pulling something else out of the freezer. Because the cup was thermal, it hadn’t frozen solid so it came out kind of like a frappucino. And I thought to myself, “Self, we should make coffee pops! Mix up the milk, coffee, sugar, and any flavorings–like vanilla, cinnamon, mocha, whatever–pour into small paper cups, freeze until you can stick popsicle sticks into them and they stay upright, then freeze solid. Have I done this? Nope, but if this hit keeps on, I’ll be tempted. In fact, I might just add cups and sticks to my grocery list. What do y’all think? Worth a try?