Thursday, May 13, 2010

What's In a Name?

Some of the writing talk at the blog has got me thinking recently - oddly enough - about names of characters and titles of books. Sometimes, writers get so focused on writing the story, they forget that names and a title are just as important. A title can get the tone of the book alone, and can either intrigue a reader or turn them off the story compeltely. Character names are important as well, strong names are good for strong characters and so forth.

It never works the same for me with titles or character names. They come when they want to. For instance, last week I was working on the 3rd book in my paranormal series and thought of the title. Then, just today I was working edits on the 2nd book and saw the same phrase I'd chosen for the 3rd book. Needless to say, that got a good chuckle from me and let me know I was on the right path with the title. Other times, I struggle for a title. I recently wrote a contemporary romance where the title didn't come until I was just about done with the story.

When it comes to character names, I have noticed I seem to have a fondess for giving characters last names for first names. For example, the first name of the male lead character in Flash of Dark is named Stark. In Midnight's Ghost, the male lead character is named Wallace. It's not always the case, some other names are Ana, Logan, Lucas, Taran, you see, it's not always the case. I've even been known to alter names to suit my taste. In Greek mythology, the daughter of Poseidon was named Evadne. I liked the name some, but wanted to like it more. My solution? Just a little rearranging (not much) and you have one of my character names: Evande.

In fact, that reminds me of some fun I had with my newest novel - Midnight's Ghost (obligatory pimping forthcoming!). As a science fiction romance, I was striving to keep the names of this world I created to a managable level. I myself have been known to skip names if I haven't been able to pronounce them after once or twice. But that didn't mean I couldn't have some fun with it. One of the planets - in fact, the planet the story starts out on - is actually the name of a character from my paranormal series - only reversed.

So now it's time for that obligatory pimping I was talking about since I had a book release this week. Fellow PR blogger, D L Jackson interviewed me over at Para-Fanatics and is holding a contest for a copy of Midnight's Ghost - stop by and leave a comment there, that's all it takes to be entered!

Midnight's Ghost (erotic science fiction romance)


The timeline is excruciating.

Taran has three days to get her former lover – whom she’s barely speaking to – and the mysterious teenager she knows nothing about from one planet to another. Given the fact her ship, Eidolon, is the fastest in the star runner fleet, Taran knows she can make the run in the time Wallace has allotted. As the best – and only – female pilot, she’s got something to prove.

As if things weren’t complicated enough, Wallace, and the teenager he has in tow, are both escapees from the harshest prison facility in seven galaxies. Not only is Taran putting her career on the line, she’s got the Intergalactic Patrol hot on her heels. It isn’t long before unresolved feelings and tempers flare to life again and Taran is left second-guessing her decision of putting everything she stands for on the line.

Her determination may just cost her everything.

One man who feels no remorse for a crime he committed and one woman pilot determined to fulfill her promise equal one impossible mission.


Annie Nicholas said...

Congrats Sara! Sounds like a great read.

Rebecca Royce said...

Sara, Wow. Congratulations. It's funny. I have to have the title and the names mostly worked out before i can even think about a story...

J Hali Steele said...

Sara, congrats! I most always come up with hero's name dancing around in my head, then I ponder storyline, and that's when the title comes to me.

Good Luck with sales!!

Sara Brookes said...

@ Annie - Thanks!

@ Rebecca I've been known to be halfway into a story with bracket marks in place of things I haven't decided on yet. Titles are funny things for me - sometimes I know it before the rest of the story, other times...not so much. LOL

@ J Hali Thanks! I really wish titles would come faster as around 10K words I start to get antsy if I don't have one - even if it's just tentative.

Sandra Sookoo said...

I usually don't come up with names until the outline is loosely done. I just refer to them as he and she LOL I'm terrible at titles as well and will change one a good 3 times sometimes.

Best wishes on your book!

Sara Brookes said...

@ Sandra Oh, I've been through that too - changing things at the last minute. Have even gotten all the way through a book and decided I didn't like a characters name and had to "find & replace" (such a good tool!)


D L Jackson said...

Congrats on the new release.

I hear you on the name thing. I have stories where the character names are linked, ie. In my novel An Alien's Guide to Abducting a Bride--I've got Elizabeth, Darius and Nero. The link--names of kings and a queen. Yeah, the title is linked to the story in an interesting way--the chapter headers are all excerpts from an erotica novel Darius swipes off Elizabeth's desk--thinking it's a Terran Guide to wooing an Earth woman.

In another, not only does the character name have a link, but other things pop up that are related. Captain Cori Valentine and a weapon of mass destruction called the Eros.

Okay...maybe this writer was a little bored, but a good name can really add to a story--or take away from it if you make it impossible for a reader to pronounce.
And as for changing names on a character--I got all the way through Slipping the Past and Changed Jocelyn's brother from Jake to Nate. Well, Jake sounded too young. The reason this mattered--I have another story I'm writing about that character and Nathanial Miller fits him so much better.

Sara Brookes said...

@ Dawn Thanks! Glad to hear I'm not the only one who plays around and links names. I think the only one I have done it for is a contemporary I wrote lately and that's only because it had enough of it's own "inside jokes" without the author adding any of her own. LOL Slipping the Past is still in my TBD pile - I sooo need to get some time to read.