What’s In A Name? (06/11)

Yesterday was a very productive day. After getting the cards re-shuffled, and the ideas back in line, I knuckled down and plowed through a hefty chunk of the first day in the eponymous “week” in Port Amble. (It’s a Saturday, by the way.) I felt very accomplished, given how much of a setback this re-think COULD have been.

But it did highlight a few gaps in my planning.

I have a tendency to create a character, plot their arc and development in general terms, refine their personality, and then, once they are a real, living person with a story to care about…I name them. I leave the naming until last, because quite often a name I want to use may be that of someone who inspired the creation, or someone I know (or both). I don’t want the inspiration to guide any further than during the genesis of the character, and I certainly don’t want someone I know comparing themselves to their potential namesake. I make some of these characters do horrible things!

So the names are left until last, that way they are hopefully being dreamt up at a time when the person is formed well enough that I can get a feel for what suits them, rather than what’s an easy label. And so during the re-think, the fine-tuning and tyre-kicking exercise I went through yesterday, I decided that it was also probably a good time to deal with entering that last detail into each profile. And as I had two friendly, intelligent and incredibly creative cohorts on hand, I borrowed some of their time to do so.

We sat outside, me with my cards, them with a vague idea of the help I was looking for. I would read out the profile on the card, giving them the details that were important to that character, their profession, age, were they a local, and then we’d brainstorm names. A lot of good suggestions came up, suggestions that fit the type of person I had created, but not always perfect for the scenario they were in. In the end, I was left with a selection of great choices for each and every character. Time well spent!

I had also made a very definite plan to distinguish the characters as Locals or Not Locals, for various reasons within the story. Because Port Amble is a country/regional location, I wanted to use the naming as a point of differentiation – the Locals had more traditional names, more familiar feeling to them, whilst the Not Locals have names that are more modern, or even foreign. This is important to help build suspense regarding a particular facet of the story – the names will guide you in what to expect…

It was also the time when I decided on the name for my protagonist: Nelson Stewart. I’ll write about Nelson tomorrow.

End of Day Word Count: 8,800. (And a big thank you to Zoe and Neisha!)

~ by nick on November 7, 2013.

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