Nancy: Name That Character!

Later this week, I will finish the final pages of the first draft of Three Husbands and a Lover. While I will then walk away from it for a few to several weeks before starting on revisions, there is one change I already know I have to make: changing the name of the hero’s sister. Percival (Percy) Carlyle, Captain Lord Granville, is an earl with three younger sisters. The younger two are sixteen-year-old twins named Lily and Iris. The oldest is eighteen and is named Priscilla, Prissy for short.

You can see the problem. Percy and Prissy. As much as the sister just felt like a Prissy, as much as the name suited the character, even I started getting confused and typing one name when I meant the other. Now this character, who plays an important secondary role in this story and who might get a story of her own someday, needs a new name.

This oldest sister is chatty, bubbly, and hopelessly romantic. She is has fallen head over heels for her first earnest suitor, who doesn’t really deserve her affections. And she welcomes her brother’s new wife with open arms, thrilled to have an older sister to balance out the two younger ones. She is tallish for a woman, and has pale freckled skin and light reddish-blonde hair like her brother, and unlike her mother and sisters who are petite, dark-haired, and dark-eyed.

The two younger sisters are named after flowers, obviously. Flower names became very popular in the 19th century, and it wouldn’t be too big a stretch to imagine a family naming all their daughters after symbols of prettiness and sweetness. So, like her sisters, the character formerly known as Prissy will be named after a flower. I’ve narrowed down the list to the following three, with their meanings, and the pros and cons of each from my perspective. Continue reading

Michaeline: Names from a Candy Shop

Gentleman offering two ladies in evening gowns some biscuits. Circa 1900, very gorgeous and rich. And delicious!

Champ Lefevre offered the lovely ladies his special hypnotic biscuits to go with their champagne. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Ah, the season of sugarplums (whatever those really are, LOL)! I dreamt I went to the local import shop, and dropped about $40 (US) on candy, and called it “research” for this blog. And one by one, characters began to pop up in my head.

Droog Bewaren laboriously picked and pitoned his way up to my dream plateau. My fantasy hero was dressed in furs, and his blonde beard was frosty from his breath. He told me a woeful story of growing up in the swamps of Gervuld, but then he received The Call to come to my cool, crisp plateau high in the mountains of his country. He managed to convey all that in about 10 words; Droog isn’t really a talker. He mostly brooded gloomily until . . . . Continue reading

Justine: The Name Game, Part 2

eight ladies writing, justine covington, fiction, writing, family names, romance writingLast Friday, Michaeline posted about character names and how she picks them. I’ve had a bit of a name conundrum myself, which I’ve been avoiding like an ostrich with his head in the sand, hoping it’ll all go away.

Okay, I exaggerate. My naming problem isn’t a big one. Susannah’s last name is Humphries. As I think about my next book (and the next, and the next), all of which are about other family members directly related to Susannah (and sharing the same last name), I realized that Humphries just isn’t a roll-off-the-tongue name. And, as my husband pointed out, it has the word “hump” in it.

One could argue that I’m either a) getting ahead of myself or b) planning well, but I want to have a family name that Continue reading

Michaeline: The Name Game

Alice in Wonderland with Tweedledee and Tweedledum

‘No way!’ ‘No how!’ Well, maybe, if Tweedledee and Tweedledum are what you are going for — two peas in a pod. (Tenniel/Wikimedia)

Names are such funny things and in a lot of magical systems, they hold a lot of power. When I start a draft, I need to have a placeholder name, usually, because I feel funny just calling a character Him or Her – it gets confusing when I start to meet more Hims and Hers in the story. So, I need a label. Sometimes, the character grows into the label, sometimes I stumble into the new perfect name for the character, and sometimes I have to spend a lot of time researching the name. A name has power, and I don’t want to do the wrong thing. For example, one of the villains in my earlier drafts started out with the name of George Brett. It was serviceable. George was a solid, good-ol’-boy name, and I thought that Brett had that air of sophistication to it. DeBrett’s is a famous registry of famous British people. But I did have a little niggle, and I think it was Nancy who confirmed my niggle – she said very cautiously something like, “Wasn’t George Brett a baseball player in the 70s?” So he was. George Brett morphed into George Diaz. And it was a better name. Mr. Diaz is a first generation American, fighting for his family and for his town. His wife, Janine Evans Diaz, still has that “oldest family in town” aristocracy about her, and I love the dynamic that the two of them have between them now. George Brett was just cookie-cutter town aristocracy; George Diaz offers a different experience from his wife. When choosing final names, there are at least seven things to remember. Continue reading