Monday, February 21, 2011

What's in a name?

I’m picky about what I name characters. I’ll search names for the right meaning and/or sound. For Undercover Sins, I chose some of my names carefully.
Demetrius has a Greek heritage that is often referred to, so I needed a Greek name for him. I’ve always been a fan of the name Demetrius, so I used it with a smile. I chose this name for the heritage and sound, not for the meaning.
Tynin was used for Ty simply because it could be shortened and Ty seemed plausible for a prostitute. His actual name, Gabriel, was chosen for the meaning. Gabriel is a hero name and the character certainly tries to be one.
Ty’s Lieutenant was simply named Lesley because I liked the sound of the name with his rank. Lieutenant Lesley just rolls off of the tongue.
Demetrius’s bodyguard was named Lee for no reason other than it was short, and flowed well with the nickname he often uses for Demetrius: Dem. It has no special meaning behind it.

In other stories, I’m far more obsessive with names, but it always comes down to how each name sounds with the other names I’ve chosen. This is all a matter of personal opinion though. How one name pairs with another could be drastically different for each reader and/or writer. I often fall back on favorites to name characters as well.

Last March I needed a new book series to read while traveling. I went to the mystery section in a bookstore and picked a book based entirely on the main character’s name. I’m not even joking. His full name had three parts and each name was a favorite of mine so I knew I’d love the series. Luckily, it turned out that I did enjoy the series, but I’m sure if the character had been bestowed with less favorable names, I would have moved down the shelf and chose a series set in modern day since I rarely pick up 1800s settings. His name just couldn't be ignored in that instance.

Does anyone else have a name they love so much that they’ll pick up a book based on just that?

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