What’s in a name? Well, let me tell you!

Friends call other friends by names of endearment or nicknames. Parents call you by your full name when you’re in trouble. Things like credit cards and drivers license do the same thing (have your full name, of course, and hopefully not just when you are in trouble). In answer to Juliet Capulet’s question–I think that there’s a whole lot in a name.

Romeo may still be “perfect” in Juliet’s eyes if his name was something else but I think that people read the book partly because his name is so classically romantic. Bob and Juliet? Ha, I don’t think so! Seriously, when giving characters their names, I feel like I have a daunting task! What if they aren’t their name?…I don’t think that made any sense, but you get the point.

Names may not shape people or perceptions entirely but I think it can influence things, especially when writing a story. I’ve heard people say that you can chose any name and then fix it later on but that drives me crazy because by the time I’m done, I’m so used to my “Romeo” being typed as “bob” so that he’s become slighly more “bobbish” then “romeoish.” Ugh! (and no offense to any bobs!)

For me, personally, the name has to come and then character can come alive for real. They can remain nameless for a little while if needs be (better a nameless hero with enigma then someone who completely changes the story I wanted), but I really don’t think that putting in someone elses name really works.

So what’s in a name? Well, Juliet, I think that when making up a character there is a lot in a name. And I think that’s kinda interesting:)


8 thoughts on “What’s in a name? Well, let me tell you!

  1. I hear you. I’m bad with names and titles. Usually I just stick a placeholder name in from whatever actor or actress looks like the part I’ve imagined. About halfway through I realize ‘oh, this person is totally a (fill in the blank name)!’ The problem with that, is I have to get halfway through before I have that realization. And as you said, it’s not easy to muddle through that way.

  2. The noms de plume and avatars folk choose to represent the intrigue me. I know I am immensely influenced by them. Same with the shock I often get when I finally meet up in the flesh with someone I’ve only known over the phone.

  3. I understand your dilemma! I go through this all the time when writing stories. Sometimes, my character’s names change in the middle of my story because I realize that after 10 pages, their personality really doesn’t fit their hum-drum name. You are not alone! Good entry, and great writing! : )

  4. I agree. Names do matter. I jot down ideas like “girl receives magic gift” but I have to have a real name for my character before I can start the actual story. Once I start writing, I rarely change the name of my main character. I have changed minor character’s names.

  5. Agreed, naming is crucial. When I come across a name I like I type it into a word document full of names (first and last, sometimes together, sometimes separate because I haven’t figured out which names should go together). Sometimes, I pick out a name and then fashion the character around it. Maybe that’s bad, but it’s working for me so far.

  6. Typing it down is a great idea! I feel like I’m always forgetting these epic names I find:/ Apparently George Lucas is always collecting names like you are (and it sounds like he based characters off of the names a little to) so it definitely sounds like you’re on the right track!:)

  7. Pingback: Shakespeare In Love (How to Be Like Him) | jacquelinelucca

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