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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"What's In A Name?"

Happy Tuesday All,


Recently I was watching something and there was a name of a character that made me think the people who chose the name for that particular character didn't realize the implications of said name.


Sometimes we choose names for our characters that don't have any hidden meaning. Sometimes they convey a sense of time and place, and sometimes they give reference to a type of being or a particular character.


For example:  If someone was to choose the name Pandora what would be the first thing that came to your mind? If you've read the Greek Myth about the girl who has this box given to her from the gods and lets out all kinds of creepy things, you'd probably think of that right off the bat. If this is a heroine who is supposed to make people like her, you might want to change the name. Unless you were going for a sense of grim irony.


Names are important. They give a sense of identity, an idea of personality (especially for characters) and they also help your readers know who is who. If we just named everyone Girl and Boy, and you have more than one girl and boy in your story it could get incredibly confusing.


But, also, in choosing a name, it's a good idea to have some idea of what might come to your reader's mind when they see that name.


It's important that when you have a recognizable name and you aren't having the character any kind of relation to that person that you make the character's personality clear.


Another idea, which I've used and it's been recommended is to look up baby names and find their meanings. You can always make that work for you in your own stories.


A name doesn't always define the person's personality, but it can mean something to your reader.


Shakespeare's Juliet said: "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."  She was right. A rose wouldn't smell any different if it was called Petaled Thorny Stem, but when people see the name 'Rose' it means something to them. Same with Shakespeare's play. When people heard the names Montague and Capulet it meant different things depending on the character and even to this day, those names make a lot of people think of Shakespeare's play, Romeo & Juliet.


Best wishes to all of you on your writing and reading!


Have A Timeless Tuesday!

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