When writing, how much time do you spend on the names you choose? Names are very important and can be vital in conveying information to the reader.
Names are used in many instances. You immediately start to think about names of characters and that is a wonderful place to start. Often a name for a character is chosen for the image it brings to mind. You would not use the same type of name to describe a brawny, tough man’s man sort of guy as you would a milk toast weakling or nerd. When trying to create an aura of mystery around a woman, you would choose a name depicting a famous or notorious person to help connect them to an event in history which brands them as someone important and glamorous or a person you should watch out for and be wary of possibly. The same thing could be achieved if the name chosen were exotic or so unique that special things were expected of that individual. Proper names can express a prominent trait of that character and help set them apart from all the rest. The name should usually match the idea you are creating of that person’s looks, personality and style.
Of course sometimes the most important thing you must convey is the ethnicity of the person. This could confirm where they live as those types of names pile up in the narrative. It could also, when thought about deeply, bring to light or suggest their outlook or perceptions in regards to their country’s history or even current events just unfolding. It can give us insight into the most basic thoughts of someone residing in that place or having lived through a certain time period.
Names are not just for people, but also places. A well named place could suggest their actual location or a description of their surroundings. This happens when indicating a body of water or a ancestral home just by the chosen name. The name might just be made up from thin air, but more likely discovered somewhere, and used to paint a mental picture of a feeling associated with that location or the dangers of the surroundings. A really creative name will mainly just be so memorable that the reader will not forget it.
People try for a degree of creativity when they name their pets or their cars or even body parts. While some of this seems overly silly, it helps that person become more interesting, more complicated or just more appealing. When a person seems imaginative or creative, they usually attract others because of those very traits. We want to all think that we are unique individuals and we are, but sometimes only stuff like names given things add to this perception.
Then there are the made up names which set us apart as we use them instead of way too common ones that everyone knows. To stand out we want to give everything possible our own twist and a ridiculous name for a commonplace object or idea can be charming.
So when writing, we should give quite a bit of time to the creation of names for our characters and everything else in need of one in our story. This could be a gift you have not even thought much about as you write, but could really set your book apart from the commonplace.
What is the most creative, unique or interesting name you used in your writing?