It’s a tricky business, choosing names for your protagonists and other characters in your novel. I’m guessing it might be akin to choosing a name for your child. After all, our characters sort of feel like our children, don’t they? And just like with baby names, people have wildly varying reactions based on personal preferences and knowing individuals with that name in their lives.
Personally I’m not a big fan of naming one’s son after the father since I believe it might interfere with the son’s identity development. And when my sister named her middle son Dylan James, I blanched when she told me that they’d call him “D.J.”, thinking that name sounded straight out of the TV show Roseanne! (Now that I know and love my nephew Dylan, I’d be fine with the name D.J., by the way).
How did you go about choosing your character names? Did you base it on your favorite names–names you’d like to use for your children someday? (George Costanza wanting to name his daughter “Seven” comes to mind!) Or did you try to infuse meaning into the names?
For my debut novel With Good Behavior, I did a combination of the above. I tried to be thoughtful in choosing the surname of my story’s depraved crime family: Barberi. And for the son of the most vicious, psychotic character associated with that family, I picked the surname Madsen. (Plus, I love the actress Virginia Madsen and needed a Scandinavian name for the storyline).
For my protagonists I simply chose names that I liked: Sophie and Grant. Imagine my surprise when astute reviewer Ana Josefina Borge told me that she loved how the meanings of their names translated into their character strengths (Sophie = wisdom, Grant = great, tall, a gift). I was tempted to pretend that I’d intended that all along but I did fess up that it was a happy accident. 😉
I’m currently reading Seers of Light by Jennifer DeLucy (and thoroughly enjoying it!) and one of her character names caught my eye: Christian Wright. At first I thought this character would be a total goody-two-shoes, but as I get to know Christian, I’m finding that he is very much a multi-faceted character. It seems her sequel Whispers of Light will explore his layers even more in depth.
How did you choose your character names? What are some of your favorite names?
It’s Monday, time for the Meet an Author Monday Blog-Hop! A great chance to meet new authors.