Monday, May 11, 2015

What’s In a Name?

I’ve been having a bit of a dilemma recently. At work, there’s a guy who’s been calling me Tiffany since we first met. Now, I would have corrected him, but at first, he would mumble “Hi Tiffany” while passing me in the hall, and usually, by the time I realize what he’s said, he’s already turned the corner. This went on for several weeks, and it’s not like I can correct him before he even greets me.

So basically, it’s been two or three months since he started calling me Tiffany, and by now, I just feel weird saying anything. Plus, I know he’s talking to me, so does it matter?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently, whether a name fits a person or not.

And as a writer, it’s even more important than in real life. Because when you have three characters named Andy, Andrea and Andre, it might get a little confusing. In fact, I had a beta tell me that all of my characters have two syllable names. Something I’ve never actually realized.

When I first started writing The Orphans of Jadox, I had three separate characters. I spent time and energy naming them, and I liked all of their names. When I started writing, when I finally got to a scene with all of them in it, I realized that their names are just too similar: Aydra, Emera, Emdra. It was the third one that really tied them together. So once I changed that, Aydra, Emera and Shara, it didn’t feel like I had Huey, Dewey, and Louie on the page.

Then when I was working on The King’s Councilor, I realized that all of my character’s names started with a C or a K: Cassie, Karvid, Kelso.

Now, when I’m planning a story, I write all my characters down next to each other so that I can double check what they look like together.

What kind of name traps do you find when you write?