Showing posts with label names. Show all posts
Showing posts with label names. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 23

Michael J. Sullivan On The Dark Art Of Naming

For myself, there is nothing quite so agonizing as trying to name my characters. I think this is partly due to my conviction that I must give each of them a name which will illuminate some particular aspect of their personality. Whenever I re-read the Harry Potter books, I'm struck by how good Rowling was at this.

I love reading about how other writers do things, especially things I find difficult. This morning I came across a post in which Michael J. Sullivan shares how he creates name.
I collect names.

Much like a butterfly hunter, or perhaps more accurately, a bird watcher—whenever I spot a name I like, I pin it into a list I keep. Street signs are a great source of fun names. There are three streets near me called, Niblick, Mashie, and Follin. I just couldn’t resist thinking how these just sound like goblin names. Turns out they are golf terms—old names for clubs, I believe.

I also own a very old encyclopedia of proper names, which long ago I went through A-Z looking for any names I didn’t recognize that I thought were cool. This is how I came across Dahlgren, and Persepolis, which I changed to Percepliquis, because I thought it sounded better. I did this decades ago and forgot about it. Now when I see a name of something from my series in the real world I think—wow, someone named a city after my novels! At this point I’ve lost track what words I made up, which I modified and which I stole, but I keep a list—three lists actually, and they are: Male Names, Female Names, Names of Places and Things. This is where I dump all my gathered words. Then as I am writing and a character is spontaneously made, as sometimes happens, I just run down the list until I find a name that suits the character.

How do I do that?

Ah, now this is a trickier question ...
Read the rest of Michael Sullivan's enlightening post here: Names

"Michael J. Sullivan On The Dark Art Of Naming," copyright© 2012 by Karen Woodward.