Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NAMELY ADVICE (Writing, Publishing, and the Teenager post)

Quick Update: Does anyone have any idea what happened to the ever-so-wonderful Querypolitan? They haven't updated anything in a while, and that site was the atomic bomb.

Song Stuck In My Head (a new segment): Pressure by Paramore.

Characters names have been known to contribute a lot when it comes. So, using the first name you hear on TV is not so wise. Here are some methods taken from favorite or well-known authors that could help spur some labels for your characters.

THE J.K ROWLING METHOD… Use names with secret meanings that go along with the character. Take Sirius Black. A lot of people already know this, but “Sirius” is also the name of a famous star (as in constellation star, not celebrity) that’s called the “Dog Star”. Guess what Sirius can transform into? A barking, drooling dog. “Lupin” is similar to the technical name for werewolves. Many words that resemble Rubeus Hagrid’s name also mean unkempt and scruffy. “Voldemort” is a French phrase for “master of death”. And don’t even get us started on Dumbledore’s full name…

THE STEPHENIE MEYER METHOD… Use names of friends and/or family. I read dedications of books and CD’s a lot. In the Twilight books, Meyer gives a shout-out to her siblings…Emily, Heidi, Paul, Seth, and Jacob. Oh, hey aren’t those the same names of the Quileute werewolf pack (as well as the girlfriend of one) and a member of Twilight’s Volturi clan? One of them, Paul, is also thanked for his valuable motorcycle lesson. As long as you get permission, why n ot honor your loves one in your story? For all we know, Stephenie’s brother gets a huge kick out of being the original muscle man.

THE SCOTT WESTERFELD METHOD… Use names that fit the timeline. And, no, we’re not talking about baby name sites for a particular year. Take the Uglies Trilogy, a dystopia that happens over three hundred years from now. Mr. Westerfeld made some unique observations on our society - how names were shortening already. No one is called Christopher or Elizabeth anymore, it’s all Chris or Liz. So in the future, or his future, we have characters like “Tally”, “Shay”, “Peris”, “Zane”, etc. And this is their full first name too, not nicknames. This method adds a comical effect when the character “David” (also Scott Westerfeld’s middle name) is introduced, and Tally thinks it’s an odd, made-up name.

THE JAMES PATTERSON METHOD... Use fun. If you've read any of the "Maximum Ride" books, about a few mutant half-human and half-bird kids, you know that Patterson really got creative with his main characters. They were science experiments, "test tube children", after all. What are their names? Maximum, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the "Gasman", and Angel. Priceless.

There are many ways to title your characters. My personal favorite is phone books, since they’re completely random. If it’s contemporary, then keeping it random is best. A few special names, and many common names, etc. Take the movie “Juno” with Ellen Page and many other talents. Juno, obviously, is a not-so-common name. However, there are characters like “Leah” and “Mark” to back it up. Also, doesn’t the name “Paulie Bleeker” perfectly suit Michael Cera’s wimpy character?

So…what shall you do?

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