I love reading books about writing. I get stacks and stacks of writing books from the library all the time, and just read, read, read. There’s so much to learn about writing! No matter how many times I’ve read a book before, there’s always something new to learn. It’s sort of overwhelming at times, thinking of all the different things an amateur author such as myself has to do.
Usually one of the books I get from the library will take you through brainstorming your novel to publishing, all in some 300 odd pages. It fries the mind.
A few days ago I got this cool free e-book called Crafting Unforgettable Characters. It’s written by K.M. Weiland of the blog Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors. I’ve been reading it slowly over the days, and today I got to the part about naming characters.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE naming characters. I’m one of those who thinks the meaning of a name affects the personality of the person. Honestly, I really do. I know multiple Erics and they all have the same personality type. And I know multiple Ariels, who have the same personality type. My aunt and a friend of my aunt’s are both named Julie, as am I, and we’re all the same. There’s a science to this, I’m telling you.
Anyway, focusing here. It’s so hard to find the right name sometimes. And then, other times, the names just come. When I named Lexus from Summer Rush, it took me forever. I couldn’t think of something that made her character come to life. I wanted it to be perfect.
Rush, on the other hand. I’d had his name ruminating in my head for months before Summer Rush was even born. Their parents’ names came easily enough. Gem’s name was completely random, but I’m attached to it now. Maya’s name is… well… I don’t know. It just screams “Maya.”
My most favorite name of any character that I’ve ever had would have to be Darius Preston Hanneman, the cyborg from the Angel books. For the entire first book and 3/4s of the second, nobody knew his real name; they just called him Hell. But eventually Angel found out what his real name was. In the beginning, his name was Caleb. But that name had so many other associations for me (mostly, Caleb from the Bible, who was a selfless hero), that it bugged the crap out of me. Hell is no hero. In fact, he’s pretty selfish. Caleb had to go.
Another one of my favorite characters is Michelangelo Remington. Everybody called him Mike for the longest time, so I thought his real name was Michael, but no. He surprised me one day by informing someone rather nastily that Mike was not short for Michael; and he hated the name Michael, anyway. Who knew? As I later discovered, his step-father always called him Michael, and to say the two of them didn’t get along would be quite the understatement.
All this to say, names fascinate me. I wish I had more characters to name!