Character Names – Worth A Research?


Lately, I met an Irish woman whose first name I simply love: Mairead. She told me it’s the Irish version of the name Margaret. I was fascinated. Margaret is a great name, but to my ear, Mairead sounds mysterious and a bit magic.

After a little bit of research, I found out that it’s believed the meaning of the name is ‘pearl.’ I’m convinced in one of my books a character called Mariead will show up.

That coincidence is one of the very few occasions so far that I met a person whose name I plan to use in one of my books.

Most of the time I have a ‘rough plan’ about a particular new character in my head already. Before the ‘fine tuning’ I most of the time need a name. In my head, I can only imagine a character as a person if he or she has a name.

XY is often in a fit of violent temper.
XY is well trained in controlling himself and playing a peaceful and prudent man.
XY occasionally twirls his beard when…

and so on. These things don’t work for me if I cannot address the person properly.

Erik is often in a fit of violent temper.
Wilbur Carstairs is well trained in controlling himself and playing a peaceful and prudent man.
Grandpa Ben occasionally twirls his beard when…

That’s much better. My head has a picture of Erik, Wilbur and Grandpa Ben now.

____________________________________________

Imagine now I created a beautiful Irish woman with light skin, black hair and bright blue eyes. She’s filigree, but no matter how tender she looks, her magic makes her strong. Nobody knows what powers slumber inside of her.

Before going deeper into her character, find out her flaws, build her in detail, I want to be able to think about her as a person, not merely a ‘picture’ or a ‘draft.’ I have a good basic idea of how she will be. What I need now is her name. A name that in my opinion, matches her looks as well as her character (and what I have hidden inside of her).

My research will look like this. First names on the left, last names on the right. I researched the names and the meanings.

After taking notes of the basics, I’ll leave the paper for a while and later on I’m trying to figure out what I like about the names, how they match. I keep scribbling onto the note until it looks like this. (And of course my favorite is red).

And here we go: Welcome to my book, Aideen Brady.

Do you think this is too complicated? What is your process to find your character’s names? Are names really worth such efforts? Let me hear your thoughts, please.

Advertisements

Interview With One Of My Characters – 2


 

Hello, welcome to ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest.’ I’m honored you took the time to visit us.

It’s my pleasure to be here. Thank you for the invitation. I am, however curious, how you found out about me. Only a handful of trusted people know who I am and where to find me.

 

Yes, I know, you are someone unique, and you were quite difficult to find. But we’ve got our connections. It seems you adjusted quite well to the human species. Please, tell us who you are.

My name is Eavan Delaney. Dr. Eavan Delaney. I studied at the university and work as a psychiatrist with patients who have PTSD. I am, what you would call a distinguished expert, being invited to many medical congresses, talking about my field of expertise and consulted by colleagues to assess their cases. I also teach as a guest lecturer at the university.

 

As I mentioned: you blend in excellently. But this isn’t your true nature, right?

No, it isn’t. I am, indeed a magical creature. When I was still little, my parents had to flee their hereditary court and duties. They left me with people they trusted and disappeared. I was brought up like a human, educated and developed and I am now trying to continue what I was left to do.

 

Which is?

My people are at strife. I am supposed to unite them against our common enemy. It seems my time as a human being has taken its toll. I am delayed in what has to be done, and I need every help I can get.

 

Who is your enemy – or let’s say, the enemy of your people?

I am very sorry, but I cannot tell. I am the last guardian of our secrets and every word I speak about who I am, every single time I’m in danger to expose myself, is dangerous, not only for me but all of my people. I am our last hope.

 

Are your parents still alive?

I don’t know. I was told they disappeared and nobody has seen them ever since. The highest caretaker of our Nature is supporting me, and he told me he searched for my parents but had no chance of finding them. At one point their trace took him to nowhere and disappeared. He now tries to support me within his possibilities.

 

Do you have more relatives, siblings?

I got a half-brother. But we aren’t close. I was informed he too was hidden after my parents disappeared. He’s my father’s son, but I know him barely.

 

I like your hair. This rich, wonderful dark shiny brown. It’s beautiful.

Thank you, but I admit, it’s carefully colored. My hair color is quite unusual and would give me away immediately. I like this color too. It’s part of a mask I’m wearing to keep hiding and still working on my duties.

 

Now I’m curious: What happens if you’re too late – or you cannot fulfill your duties.

Oh, I don’t want to think about it. See, the conflicts between my people are that significant they forgot their original task, and we all suffer from this negligence. The storm is already raised. If we get any weaker, our enemy will be successful. If this happens, the war will annihilate our people, and the entire world is going to drown in fire and ice.

 

That is a grief-stricken prospect.

Nevertheless, it’s true. I would love to be positive about the outcome. Now that I got help the chances are better. But still, I need to hurry up before it’s too late. Better keep your fingers crossed, A.J.

 

Yes, I will. – You seem to be nervous. Do you need to go?

Yes, I’m afraid I have to. I will be picked up soon.

 

Thank you very much for being my guest Eavan. Please, take care, and I’d be happy to see you soon.

It was my pleasure. Thanks for the chance to visit you.


 

“Fire & Ice” – courtesy of http://www.google.com

Character, not caricature – written by Lisa Hall-Wilson

Lisa Hall-Wilson on Kristen Lamb’s blog writes about creating strong female characters, a blog post I read with interest and find worth sharing.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Character, not caricature.

Portraying strong women authentically is tricky. Most of the time, I find strong female characters are caricatures of an extreme: the dim-witted blond, the stock-in-trade man with boobs, the femme fatale. These are stereotypes sure, but what they really are is extreme examples of real life. Can you find an example from history of a female warrior in a male-dominated society – sure, but she’s an outlier. If you want to write an outlier character that’s fine, but let the traits that make her an outlier be the source of her strength not her ability to wield a sword.

Let’s look at a real-world example, Malala Yousafzai. She’s a strong woman, but is she strong because she survived a bullet wound to the head? Yes, partly, but moreso she’s strong because of the choices that led to her being targeted, and the friends and family who empowered her to follow her heart.

Are you able to portray women without these extremes that’s both likable (or at least worthy of cheering for) and surprises readers? That’s the tricky part.

 

Please continue reading here:

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2017/08/the-write-stuff-creating-strong-authentic-female-characters/

 

Back to School – New W.A.N.A. Classes for September! – written by Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb has posted the new upcoming W.A.N.A. classes for September 2017! Thank you Kristen!

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

It’s back to school for everyone – not just kids. Vacation’s over. Fun’s over…or maybe the fun is just beginning.

This fall, W.A.N.A. is back with new classes, new instructors, and lots of exciting announcements coming up. Bookmark W.A.N.A. and make sure to subscribe to my blog to stay up-to-date with all the news!

Don’t forget to hop on over to the W.A.N.A. Tribe to join in our daily writing sprints in the chat room! The Tribe is a thriving community, and we are planning on some awesome upgrades to the entire Tribe experience this fall.

NEW CLASSES FOR SEPTEMBER 2017(click the link for the classes)

 

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2017/08/new-september-classes/

Fashion For Characters III

This is the third time I venture to lay hands on fashion for our characters. In my first blog post I dared to talk about the difference between some Historical Romance book covers and the truth; in my second post I showed some past and maybe current and future fashion in the Science Fiction genre.

Right now I decided to peek into ‘my own’ genre, Paranormal Romance. It took me a while to find out what genre I write in. According to Wikipedia, Paranormal Romance means, I write about “Supernatural behavior, abilities, and creatures in our current existing world’. I think this covers it pretty much. I’m sure there are similar or other explanations, telling us more or less the same thing. But this is right. At least that’s what I do.

Let’s take the existing world, mixed with ‘supernatural abilities and creatures.’ These creatures might be all kinds of characters, from trolls to orcs, to fairies, ghosts or even, as I introduced you to: shadows like Rapha Golden, demons, like Ethel, or even this one, unique and mysterious humanoid beautiful ‘Simin Arnatt.’

Let me pick Simin as an example. Simin is mysterious. She holds many secrets, and I am not the one to reveal them, except one: Simin is no spoiled princess. She’s a warrior, a fighter, even a hunter, and exceptionally good at what she does. That’s why, during her work, I dress her into something like this:

 

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com
Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**************************

 

Of course, Simin is a business woman as well, after all, she’s a freelancer in… – never mind. But occasionally she meets clients, agencies or her lawyer. In such a case she has been seen wearing similar outfits like the ones here:

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

**************************

Simin has the right to be on vacation like other people as well. For these occasions, she has outfits for summer…

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and winter.

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

**************************

 

Simin is a unique person, in more than one way. Her life is adventurous and at times dangerous. And still… she’s everywhere and nowhere. She hasn’t known a home for a long, very long time. Her wardrobe is limited. But this doesn’t mean she has no taste or is not fashionable. But I promise, one day, you will find out more about her.

What would you dress your paranormal romance characters in? Do you have published a book in this genre already or are writing one? What are your characters wearing? Please let us know in the comments below.

Fashion For Characters II

In my blog post ‘Fashion For Characters I’ I showed the difference between certain book covers of ‘Historical Romance’ books and the ‘reality.’

This time I decided to talk about how to dress ‘Science Fiction’ characters.

I have to admit; I can only talk about what I would dress them into, rather than what I do make them wear because Science Fiction is not my genre. Science Fiction is probably the perfect genre to read for technics and computer lovers, Star Trek, Star Wars and Star-whatever’ fans, which I’m deeply ashamed to admit I’m not.

But let’s see if I still can endeavor to find something decent to wear for these characters. At this moment I depend on what I remember. When I was little my Dad loved to watch the old Star Trek show, and I find their ladies fashion irresistible and I cannot and will not deprive you of seeing what people back then considered decent fashion for female Science Fiction characters:

Picture courtesy of: http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Harry_Mudd
Picture courtesy of: http://bit.ly/2ovFAQt

****************************************

Nowadays I figure our imagination of a Science Fiction Princess on a formal event might more be dressed in something like this:

Picture courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of: http://bit.ly/2oyXMI9

.

Or if there is a technical computer war in some space ship, we could dress her in this?

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

Or do we like it a little sexier? Maybe this would be more (in)appropriate for our story?

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

****************************************

Right here, I preferred dressing ladies in my imagination of Science Fiction characters. I would be very curious what kind of ideas you would come up with. I’m a woman “dressing” women. But what would a male writer do in such a case? Aren’t mainly men writing Science Fiction after all, or am I very wrong with this guess?

Let me hear what you think.