Saturday, June 25, 2011
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Hollywood actors and actresses may have been born with common names like Julia and Brad, but that doesn’t mean their offspring have to suffer the same fate. Will and Jada Smith’s children: Willow and Jaden; Demi Moore’s girls: Scout LaRue, Rumer Glen and Tallulah Belle; Gwenyth Paltrow’s daughter: Apple Blythe; John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s son: Jett; Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke’s son: Ronin. Singer Brandi’s daughter: Sy’rai; Thomas Jane (The Punisher) and Rosanna Arquette’s daughter: Harlow.
Even some famous faces were lucky enough to have been born with one-of-a-kind names: Keanu Reeves, Jude Law, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Macaulay Culkin, Kiefer Sutherland, Oprah Winfrey.
So, what about our characters in our books? We're the sole parent of these people, and we have the responsibility to give them a proper name at their birth.
I don't overthink names for my characters. A name usually just appears as soon as I know my character. I am guilty, though, of using a name more than once—a habit I'm trying to break.
Overall, I like my characters' names, and believe I do a fair job. I usually try to make the name fit the person, so that at a glance of the name the reader might have a hint of his/her personality.
In my July 4 release, Heart of a Hero, the hero's name is Matthew Rayburn Carrington. What does this say to the reader? I hope it implies that he is from a wealthy, perhaps locally well-known family. And that is the case. The heroine's name is Lauren Delaney. To me this says she is somewhat sophisticated, perhaps from wealth, too, but with a hint of girl-next-door. The antagonist in the story is actually Matt's fiancé Stephanie Davenport. She is a spoiled wealthy young woman who only wants what will benefit her.
The most memorable names to me are those that conjure up an image of the character, whether they are good or evil. Some that are noteworthy from my view are:
Fallon—the villain in Cheryl Pierson's Fire Eyes.
Wick—the wreck of a man hero in Sandra Brown's The Crush.
Cleopatra Jones—the Southern female sleuth in Maggie Toussaint's In for a Penny.
Skeeter-the author heroine in Kathryn Stockket's The Help.
Scarlett O'Hara-the heroine in Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind.
What are some memorable names you recall from novels—even your own! How do you name your "babies?"
Thank for reading—
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas