Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's in a Name?

So, as mentioned, I like to write. So I was writing in a new character to a book series I'm working on, and I was thinking 'What should I name her?'

That got me thinking. In books, some of the time the people have really weird names, especially if they're fantasy books. (Vladimir is a classic vampire name, and names such as Mab or Titania are often found in faery books.) But why do some authors name their characters specific things? Are they named that for a reason? The name 'Norbert' means 'brilliant hero', but I can not name a single hero in any book I've read named Norbert. Similarly, the female name 'Jezebel' means 'Wicked one', but I have not seen a female villain named Jezebel. So why do authors choose the names they do?

In the aforementioned book series I'm writing, one of the characters in named 'Felix'. He's a very happy, sunshiny type of person, ready to brighten the main character's day. The name 'Felix' means 'happy or fortunate one'. Not that I knew this when I started writing his character, but it seemed to fit, for some reason. Do authors intend to make a statement by the character's name or name meaning? Or do they just like that name and think it fits for the character?

When I'm writing and trying to name a character, I normally think of some names I like, then see what they mean or think about the character and see which of the names I thought of fits them. I do, however, make a point of looking up what each of their names mean, to see if that could change or enhance their character in any way.

So, fellow writers, am I alone in all this name searching? Am I the only one that spends as much time and energy trying to find the perfect name for a character?

And readers alike, what do you think about name choice in a novel or short story? Does it really matter that much to you what each of the characters is named?

Ah, the great mysteries of life ;)

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