What’s in a name?

One of my writers’ groups a couple of weeks back talked about giving names for characters. Some writers named characters after people they knew, such as family members. There were few other interesting suggestions, such as naming a character after a street or neighbourhood. Of course where I live there are a lot of numbered streets. Naming a character 109 Street may not be the best thing to do.

I’m currently writing a medieval world fantasy story, one that has witches in it. So trying to give them names provides a bit of challenge. Jane, Tom or Martha just doesn’t seem to have the right ring to it. I actually turned to a latin dictionary and dug up information on names used in the middle ages. I have now come up with a good sized list of names to use in the story. As far as I know, none of the names
are in the most popular list of baby names. Mind you, not many people want to name their baby after a witch.

Science fiction names are a bit easier to make up. For example, usually you can take one letter of a name and substitute in a different one or simple add an extra letter. I find the letter X works well in many cases. Jane becomes Janx, which sound interesting and exotic. Tom becomes Tomx. Martha changes to Marthax, which sounds like a type of insect. I guess it isn’t a perfect system. The next time you read a book, especially one of mine, try to remember the author may have put a lot of effort into developing the right names.

By the way, I’m doing a book signing at Chapters in West Edmonton Mall on Saturday, April 21. I hope you can drop by. If you tell me your name, I might be able to use in my next book.

7 Responses to “What’s in a name?”

  1. Thora says:

    How about names like Durantia (the Fir goddess), Ravenwood, Mabb, Cerridwen…Just check out Celtic mythology.
    Thanks Thora. Another set of names I can use and a place I can check.

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