What’s in a Name?

I’ve actually had a great deal of difficulty choosing names for certain characters in my current project.  I just haven’t connected with anything yet that I am comfortable seeing three to five times on a given page.  Not only do names have to fit the character theme, but they have to flow with the story.  I was thinking that by reviewing the names used in Master of the House, that I might figure something out for myself here.

  • Julian - This character went through numerous names but it was part of his theme.  He was the man of many faces, always switching it up for a given situation.  Like many of the characters in this book, Julian was someone’s roleplay character to start with.  I believe his original name was “Jules” (as in ___Vern).  I wanted something more serious for my cast lead and his name was given its full length.
  • Face - Another character born of roleplay, I think the player chose this name because he had recently watched “The A Team”.  Re-branding it a bit, I found it was still of use.  The character was a bruiser, a fighter…so his nickname of “Face” was a reference to his many black eyes and split lips.  Now his real name…that’s a spoiler I’ll keep to the book.
  • Katrina - I wanted a strong female name here that could be shortened to something cute.  Katrina/Kat…it allowed me to distinguish when people were close friends of hers or not, because she would absolutely not put up with nicknames from people that were not friends.  Some early readers took exception to her last name being “O’Malley” but the idea is that the prefix to that is honorific, not ethnic.
  • Hawthorne - This name was once again chosen by a player, but his full name of Matthew Q. Hawthorne was chosen by me and a small tribute to the film Quigley Down Under.  It’s about a marksman of incredible skill who I imagine Hawthorne to be a slightly more criminal version of.
  • Dori - Dori is tragically named after the girl I went to Homecoming with my freshman year of high school who completely freaked out and hid in the bathroom all night.  She may have been very, very high.  (or I could have been a lousy date)  Girl was nice, but flighty;  creative, but cripplingly disorganized.  My Dori is all of those things crossed with a fortuneteller.
  • Tin – Tin’s name comes from a song…this is no joke now.  Remember Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio?  ”Got my tin in my hand and a gleam in my eye…”  Just gangster tie-in stuff for me, but I liked the idea of Tin using slang terms for hand gun as his name.

I may have to come back to this again tomorrow to go over some of the others.  I still don’t have an answer for my male lead character.  Arg…

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