Friday, August 30, 2013

What's In a Name?

I for one have always been fascinated by the meanings and origins of names. For instance Ruth (that's my first name by the way) means mercy, merciful or friend to all. As a writer I put a lot of thought into what I name my characters, using a baby name books with meanings and origins as a writer's tool. Sometimes I like a name until I read the definition. Other times I can't think of anything and just start flipping through the pages of names until something grabs my attention. When naming my main character in "The Forsaken" I knew right a way her name had to be Gwenevere. When I checked the meaning: Fair One, I thought it fit perfectly.  However, Gwen can't speak English at the beginning of the book and is given the name Marianne by the orphanage. Marianne means sorrow or Bitterness, which also seems fitting as she isn't  very happy at the orphanage or when people call her by that name.
As Gwen delves deeper into the mystery of her past she'll go from the human world into the other worldly in book two of the Children of Cain series "The Offspring". Naming characters from another era, world, culture, or species is quite challenging. When my series went into the Fantasy realm I needed to get more creative, but I didn't want to get too complex. We've all read books (Fantasy in particular) where the names are so outlandish and unusual that you can barely figure out the pronunciation let alone agree with other fans how it's supposed to be said. I didn't want to have that headache in my series. Below is a list of some characters from book two "The Offspring"

Emon---------------------------Elf (scholar)
Angelo--------------------------Vampire (Italian)
Vinita---------------------------Elf (female)
Legion--------------------------Vampire Lord (French)
Ivan-----------------------------Vampire (English)
Lucca---------------------------Vampire (black)

As you can see... nothing too fancy. None the less they're still interesting and unique to the characters, their personalities or species. Well, that's how I do the naming game. How about you? I'd love to hear from my fellow authors out there. How do you get the inspiration for the names of your characters? Now go forth and leave a comment below and enjoy "Open Book" by Cake!

R.J. Craddock