Today's blog chain topic is brought to you by the awesome Kate, whose YA novel ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE sounds amazeballs and I can't wait to read!! *clears throat* Anyway. Here's her question:
What's in a name? What if Harry Potter had been Larry Snotter? What if Edward was Jacob and Jacob was Edward? What favorite books had character names that you loved or hated? And how do you come up with your own character names?
So. One of my absolute favorite things to do is find the PERFECT names for my characters. Sometimes I find them quickly. Sometimes it takes forever and a half. Sometimes I take the name's meaning into consideration. Sometimes I just love a name so much and pick it on that love alone. For example, I once thought of naming a character Rourke because he felt like a Rourke to me--badass warrior dude. Another one of my characters is named Alejandra, which I chose for her based on its meaning ("defender of mankind") and Hispanic heritage. Bottom line? I hold names in high regard. They're my first intro to a story's characters, and no matter how shallow that sounds, it's a first impression that sticks with me. Of course, behavior and voice matter a lot, but the name is the appetizer, folks.
And you gotta love an appetizer.
I also think it's important to take your novel's premise and tone into consideration when naming your characters. Larry Snotter doesn't sound like the name of a wizard dude who defeated Voldemort. It sounds like the parody of the wizard dude who defeated Voldemort. And while I'd totally read both books, my mood while reading each one would shift. Likewise, Edward sounds like a serious and seriously old name, which resembles Edward himself. Jacob is less heavy to me, and so is the guy who bears it. Switching them would feel super off.
Luna Lovegood is an example of a character name I love. I've always been a fan of 'Luna' and its variations, and 'Lovegood' gives me a strong hint that this girl is someone I can trust (see? Shallow!). Also, for reasons I can never explain, I love alliteration. It's just... awesome. Luna Lovegood is not only a bossypants name, but so is the character.
A character name I could do without? PEETA MELLARK. I mean. I MEAN. Okay, I don't mind the Mellark much, but Peeta? I can't help but get hungry every time I hear it. Perhaps that was the brilliant Suzanne Collins' intention? To make me super hungry? *ponders* Geniuses work in mysterious ways, so I've learned to embrace the name. But OMG, I'm hungry.
Make sure you check out Cole's post, and stay tuned for Margie's tomorrow! And thanks to Kate for such a fun topic!