~ Join us on a journey of passion and adventure ~

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What's in a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

- Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

As probably the most famous writer in history, Shakespeare knew his stuff. But for once I'm going to have to disagree with him, at least in part: names are crucially important, at least when you're an author choosing names for the characters in your work.

When you're writing fiction, names usually have to fit the characters. Contemporary protagonists in an ordinary world might be Joe, Ian or Kate. But call someone Reginald, Percival or Eustace and readers will immediately think they're either fussy, fusty or just plain old-fashioned. Even worse, a wrongly-picked name may throw them out of the story altogether.

I'm currently at the naming stage while doing early ruminations for my next novel. The challenge when choosing names for historical characters is picking something that's easy to grasp (not to mention pronounce) for the average, modern-day reader. That can be slightly tricky when you're writing in an era like the Anglo-Saxon one, where typical names included Aedelbeorht and Eadburga...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Random Idea Generation

Unfortunately, a combination of the Easter holidays and family commitments has meant that my writing has had to come second these past two weeks. Why is it when you're too busy to write you always seem to get the best ideas popping into your head, usually at random and unhelpfully-timed intervals?

Thankfully, I keep a number of notepads and pens to hand that allow me to scrawl down any important stuff that I'll likely forget again five minutes later. The most useful one of these rests on my bedside cabinet, and is used occasionally when ideas turn up in the night. It's also extremely handy for jotting down those half-glimpsed dream-thoughts which invariably dissolve once you're fully awake...