Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's In A Name?

Writer's Thoughts,
One of the challenges in character creation is naming them. No, it's not one of those things to stay up all night over, but it can have it's moments. Here's why. There's a ton of names to choose from. Situation. Which ones to choose?

Akin to naming a child, you want the name to fit the character. It's an 'art-of-the-mind thing.' I'll clarify, not "out of my mind thing." As the writer, the personality of the character is already established. So begins the hunt to get the name that matches. What approach to take? Do you go with a name that has a hidden, deeper, or poetic meaning? Passion Heart. Sonny Day. Hope Fields. How about a "looks like?" Muscles. Sharky. Spike. Foxy.

Then there's the character's role option. Cabbie. Cook. Doc. And, the wordplay choice. Such as, a character who dreamed of being an actress, but never took the stage. Ida Benn Goode.  There's heroic names. Hector. Michael. Smart names. Gregory. Frederick. Honest names. Frank. Candice.

What is my ultimate name search method? Well, it has to 'feel right.' I've been known to take the songwriter's approach. The sound has to flow like a ringtone. When you hear the name, you know it's them. How do you know? You can't change it for anything. It gets stuck in your head. I've changed adored names before, only to mysteriously go back to the original. Then down the script, I'm wondering why I have two different names for the same character.

I take my chosen names through a series of questions. Is it the name of any relatives? Close friends? Friends? My close friends, friends? Famous people living or dead? Once I've made it that far, I feel fairly comfortable making a selection. This is the realm of fiction. It can have it's strange complications, at times.

As you can see, there is some thought that goes into naming characters. What's in a name? A statement. A first impression. Yes, names are often forgot in the initial conversation, but once they're taken in, they're hard to forget. Scarlet O'Hara. Flash Gordon. Clark Kent. 

New animated video coming up shortly. You spin this swirl!