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