Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Rose By Any Other Name

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a character definitely won’t. I’m the kind of reader that loves a good name. Just the name alone can bring up an image of the character.

Jack- a tough solid man with brown hair that glints red in the sun. Always good in a fight, but with a wicked sense of humor.

Deidre- willowy and blonde, wears her hair in a braid and has a penchant for flowery dresses. If you’re upset, she’ll likely offer you a cup of herbal tea.

Tucker- buzz cut and a nasty scar on his chin. When you ask him about it, he’ll make up a lie. But something about those silver blue eyes makes you doubt his story.

Jolene- auburn hair and cowboy boots, she’s from country as big and wide as her smile. Her laugh is as loud as it is contagious. And it works perfectly to cover the shadows of her past.

So yes, to me: a name can make or break a story. There are some names that are so horrible, I have to read the jarring, discordant syllables out loud and wonder if the author ever did the same.

Ultimately this just means I obsess for hours, days, and sometimes even weeks over a character’s name. If you write, you know that at times, a character is less a creation, and more a fully developed idea that just (like magic) pops into your mind. But what positively slays me is when the blasted character refuses to tell you their name. My new novel is currently sitting at a painful 850 words all because my male MC refuses to fess up. Fantastic.

So instead, I write a blog and hope my MC will soon tell me his secrets. Until then, I’ll leave you with this. Some of my favorite names come from the great JK Rowling. Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Sevvvvverrusss Ssssnape. I’ll admit- I have a weakness for the anti-hero and the sibilant name. But can you imagine if Harry wasn’t Harry? Things might not have been so magical…

Now do my taxes.

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