THE NAMING OF THINGS.

Charming My Name!

Charming My Name! (Photo credit: jpellgen)

What do you call a forty-year old Gypsy who doesn’t exist, how about an abdicated queen with a sweet tooth or an assassin who never kills anyone?

Don’t know? – That makes two of us… (If you do know, suggestions welcome in the comments section. Full credit will be given in the book.)

The stories themselves are not an issue. Plots, themes and concepts tend to present themselves daily (I’m not gloating). It’s harder to keep track of them than to come up with them. There is always the part remembered good idea as you fall off to sleep. The plausible bridge in how a character has developed comes as your wrestling with early morning traffic both hands occupied and your notebook nowhere in sight.  I often find it difficult to reach for them again, as they fade into the other mental detritus of a work day or get overwritten by a new dream before waking.

But oh, for a name……. Why is it not so simple? My WIP now consists of a novel (nameless, half the characters called person a, b, etc.), two short stories (not so nameless but the characters don’t like their monikers: x. y and z). I thought I had found the perfect name for the book the other day only to discover that Ray Bradbury had got there first. Damn, those iconic fantasy authors with their striking and memorable titles!

Perhaps it’s because I have always associated characteristics with names. In my head, a “Jane” or a “John” acts like personal experiences made flesh. Any other traits or emotional effects/defects seem out of character somehow. Like there is a frozen vision of Jane, residing in my brain and now all beings bearing that appellation have to fit with my mental image.

I read a funny review the other day, where the reader had loved the book but couldn’t give it five stars because one of the characters is Kevin, and they didn’t think it was a proper name for a medieval swords and sorcery fantasy… I wonder what the Author was thinking when picking that name? – Crap, I’ve used all the unpronounceable ones, sod it, let’s just call him Kev? I’m surprised he wasn’t a “Dave”, after all, everyone knows someone called Dave or so the story goes.

So what is it about names and titles that resonates so strongly. More importantly how do you name?… Is it a flash of inspiration the name appearing in your mind’s eye? Do they look like a “Insert Name” in your head?

Comments as always, welcome.