Challenge #3: How do you come up with names for characters, and for places if you’re writing about fictional worlds?
Naming is either the hardest or the easiest part of my writing ventures. If a name doesn’t instantly strike me as “the one” and stick forever, it’s an agonizing process of researching name meanings, histories, Latin roots, and just about anything under the sun until I can settle on something. If it so happens that I choose a name the hard way, it can change up to any number of times before I post it somewhere… and sometimes even after that. Usually if that’s the case, I have to let the name grow on me–like mold.
Some names I was instantly fond of and stuck to a character or place right away:
Fianait – (FYAHN-et or FiyahNEY-T) Female protagonist in Mandor in the Water. Gaelic for “deer.” This name makes me picture long, wispy hair and water running over rocks and bare feet. Somehow it’s perfect.
Torin & Lira – Monarchs in Tierelyss. Torin is Gaelic for “chief” but I had no idea until I looked it up–after I decided that was his name. The same goes for Lira. I looked up the meaning/origin after the fact only to find it’s Old German for “foreign/true” which is so perfect I can’t even begin to gush properly… though I can try. :D
Slipborough Half – A place within Wind Blessed. This, along with Bend Willow Creek, Della Creek Farm, a half dozen other places, plus the name of a character, Ildri, were all chosen for the sole purpose of sounding wonderful in my head. Ildri also was discovered to mean “fire and peace” in the Norse tongue.
Some names that only grew on me after I pillaged dozens of language and baby name sites (usually with the aid of mah best friend and Beta Mistress):
Galen Ashby – Victorian gentleman-turned-vampire in The Turnings. That’s one story you can’t read. Not now. Possibly not ever. I intend on being stubbornly selfish with it. x)
Brisella – Plot-revolving character of Wind Blessed. This one took me a while to keep. She had a name before, but I thought it too normal sounding for a fantasy heroine. Brisella was a one-word change from her original name but that one little letter felt right after a few days of agonizing. Somewhat derived from “Brisa” meaning “breeze” en Español.
Frederick Holbright – Chains of Love man-person. Still not completely positive I’m keeping his name. :P I’m 92% sure. It’ll probably stay. It’s changed about four times already. Thank goodness for the replacement option in Word!
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
–Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare
I’m usually not one for poetry unless it’s satirical, but Shakespeare is Shakespeare and that’s all there is to it. The ’96 version of Sense and Sensibility had a part in dramatizing this to new levels. Marianne is a ninny, but she quotes very prettily!
A clip from Sense and Sensibility
Because an image and a short movie clip aren’t that dissimilar. It’s about appeasing the muse. ;)