Friday, August 24, 2018

A Fiction Writer’s Angst - Names

Trying to write inventive fantasy fiction is a challenge, but a fun challenge. Creating scary monsters, working out the particulars of your daring protagonist, making your antagonist, antagonizing, and mixing in fancy new races with established old races to coexist in the unique world you created is the enjoyable part of writing fiction. What slows you down are names, the names, the names, oh the NAMES, they are a nightmare. The absolute worst. What to name a town? What to name a character? What to name the world. HELP ME! HELP ME! HELP ME!

Names in fiction novels are wacky, tacky, and often impossible to pronounce. But I get why writers try to come up with cool names. They want to be different, unique, but sometimes they go overboard.

Choosing the right name for people, places, and things that best depict the flavor of your novel is not easy. I admit, I too have used wild and weird names.

Yes, your characters are special individuals. Yes, your world is unique. And yes, the names you choose should be distinctive to match the story.

Tom the Dragon Slayer is a bit . . . blah. However, . . . Ramanayake Wrivras Uwrecular the Dragon Slayer, wielding the Doom Slicer Sword of Twilight's End is sophisticated and stylish. Although, seeing Ramanayake Wrivras Uwrecular 800 times in a novel is quite annoying.

Dungeons, Towns, a Forest, a Mountain, a Tavern, an Ocean, and a River are tough to name, and deciding the right name will chew up a lot of your time. Joe’s River, Buck’s Tavern, and Scary Dungeon just don’t add spiciness like - The Cowardly Zombie Rabbit Tavern or The River of Black Blood.

Time is the enemy. It must be used wisely.

To aid you, there are a few worthy name generators on the internet. The only problem with name generators is that you can get caught up in their swirling, addictive vortex. I know, because I have spent several wasted days looking through the millions of names they provide.

My advice: Choose a name and stick with it. Over time the name will grow on you. Don’t be envious of the names you have seen in other novels and think you have to change a beloved character’s name because it doesn’t sound meaningful enough, especially after you've written 40,000 words - that's not a good time to be waffling about names.

For the writers who have children, you understand the task of naming. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not so easy.

A name is a name is a name. The names you choose are important, but they will only be remembered if the story is awesome.

Using initials instead of their name is a popular thing with authors – I. P. Nightly or Mary O. B. G. Y. N. Spencer. Personally, I don’t get it, but what do I know. Hmmm, maybe I should change my name. I've had the same name for 61 years. How about – Warwick Amaranth ‘The Nightmare’ Bloodrain?  Naw. I'll stick with what I have.

This Week be a Lovely Yellow Ogre or an Enthusiastic Purple Raccoon.

Spreading the Love to Ireland, Cuba, Brazil, India, Greece, Spain, Great Britain, Poland, Norway, and Denmark.