Saturday, 22 October 2011

What's in a name? Apart from a lot of letters.... (plus a picture of Jared Leto...)

I've been doing it again.  No, shut up, not that, anyway the restraining order is still in place, so I can't, not until September 2014 anyway.  No, what I have been doing is pondering.  Which explains why I'm covered in ducks.  I have also been thinking about names.

My heroes tend towards single syllable names, but this is not through any Male Conventional Naming System (Trademark) it is simply that these are easier on the fingers.  I mean, yes, Amadeus is a very nice name (so long as you happen to be an eighteenth century German, and I'm  not saying that you aren't, I'm just passing comment here), but typing it out on average, say, three hundred times over the length of a manuscript - well, your A key is going to take a fair bit of wear, isn't it?  And it's not a name that easily shortens - by the time the heroine has gasped his name during a passionate encounter...well, just picture it... "Am....Am....Am..." she's just going to sound like a woman with some kind of dissociative disorder.  And then there's Alistair. No, over there, look.  A name which I particularly like, but persist in shortening to Alice...

Because certain names just sound more...well, sexy.  I am currently working on a Phinn, a Kai and a Zan.  And,. I have to say, I am exhausted... but that is by the by.  Others heroes I have used until their bones creaked, have been called Cal, Ben and, in Star Struck (published by Choc Lit, available at all good bookshops), the hero's name is Jack.  I could never, of course, use the names Tom or Will (because those are my sons' names and it would just be nasty), Bill is a grandfather and Zack is too manly.  Any male names ending in the 'ee' sound are a little bit too far on the girly side (Mr Depp, I am making an absolutely enormous exception on your part here) and if I ever use Butch or Randy you have my permission to shoot me.

His real name is Amelia, you know....

Now, I know the theories, that names ending in 'hard' sounds are intrinsically 'male' and soft sounds are 'female' and you never call a hero 'Izziwizzimuss' unless you are writing a story about cats or are deranged, and that the best way to make sure your hero's name is age-appropriate is to check out the Top Ten list of names for the year he was born, but why is it that some names are just more... appealing? 

Oh, and Zan's a vampire.  So, you know, different rules...

5 comments:

Cat Marsters/Kate Johnson said...

I want to read about Izziwizzimuss, but then I possibly am deranged.

I tend towards short names too. I picked Harker because it's a very sharp, harsh couple of syllables; on the rare occasions he's called by his first name, that's pretty short too. My next hero is Luke, and after that, Kael. I also have in mind a Quinn, a Mark, and a Steele. A Steele who will, of course, be mercilessly mocked for having a name like a 1990s TV wrestler.

Ranae Rose said...

Funny that you should mention all those names, as I'm currently writing a romance about two cat-farmers, Butch and Randy, and their prized feline stud, Izziwizzimuss...

:P Hee hee.

Jane Lovering said...

Then I look forward to the day you two join forces and the cat superhero Izziwizzimuss is born! And, I'm sorry, but no man should ever be called Randy.. but then, I get silly giggles when I'm introduced to a Dick..er... if you see what I mean...

Christina Courtenay said...

No idea, Jane, but I'm with you on this - some names just don't work as hero names! Mind you, Jared does it for me - the name I mean of course :D Thanks for the gratuitous photo though! Just what I needed to cheer me up today.

Cat Marsters/Kate Johnson said...

As Spike once memorably put it: Randy Giles? Why not Horny Giles or Desperate For A Shag Giles? No wonder I hate you.