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What was his name?

My mom just adopted a nine week old Brittney Spaniel puppy and has been trying to decide on a name. We've been batting around options like Louey, Brody, Tucker, Sky (he has bright blue eyes right now) but can't seem to settle on the perfect choice. In the non-linear workings of my mind this topic turned into choosing the name of characters in my books. I know this has come up for conversation in several online groups, so I thought for my blog this month I would present my ideas.

The first thing I do when outlining a new character is determine their physical description. What's their height, build, hair and eye color. I freely admit to being a sucker for eyes so when you read my books I tend to expound on that particular feature. Then I decide what that person will do for a living. Do they sit behind a desk, if so doing what? Do they work in manual labor, military, medicine, academia? Next I like to sketch out a little family history generally just immediate family. Finally what types of thing does my character like to do for fun. Do they enjoy the outdoors, cooking, sportsmen, gamers, couch potatoes-lets face it some people can make this an olympic sport! Once I have all that then I use the information to think of names that fit the personalities I've described.

I have three basic rules when it comes to names. 1) The name has to sound good when screamed out in the thros of passion. Lets face it who wants to scream out "Nympdadora" or " Xerxes"? BTW these are actual names I've found. 2) If you plan on shortening their real name when using a nickname make it something that is also appealing to the characters personality. For instance I wouldn't make Valentino Campagnolo go by Campy. FYI He's a world renown conservative Italian businessman who owns and operates a bicycle component company. 3) Don't make the reader struggle to pronounce it every time it's written. There's nothing worse than reading a great book and being taken out of the story because you can't pronounce the hero or heroine's name.

So there you have it Trina's Name Game 101.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween
and enjoy all your left over candy!!!


Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Trina,

I like my characters to have nicknames. Both the full name and the nickname should reveal something about the character. And other characters as well. For example, in Raw Silk, the heroine's name is Katherine. One of the heros calls her by her full name -- he's more formal and traditional. The other calls her Kate.

Happy Halloween to you, too!


Trina Lane said...

I agree. I love nicknames and for the most part my characters do have them. I just feel that the character should feel as comfortable at hearing the name assigned to them as the speaker. I think the use of nicknames can add to the intimacy between the characters.