Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Character Names" by Sean Keefer - Guest Post

Since while people have been reading The Trust, I've been getting a number of questions about how I come up with character names.

It’s has also been interesting the things I’ve had pointed out to me regarding some of the names I've created.

Several people know someone in real life who shares a name with a character. Given that I've never heard of the real life folks that share names with my fictional characters, I'm pretty sure we can go with coincidence.

A few of my more astute friends, or perhaps some that just know me all too well, have looked past the name of a specific character and have told me, with 100% accuracy I might add, who in real life a character was based upon despite the fact the name was nothing like the name of the actual person.

Others have asked me if I have a name in mind when a character comes to life.

The short answer is no. The only slightly longer answer is when I am faced with the dilemma of naming a character I find my writing comes to a sudden halt.

When I create characters, I first have to see them in my head, and, as I have addressed in other blog entries, only then do they come to life.

However determining a specific name is a different thing entirely.

Generally I just stop writing, stare into the distance and let my mind go blank and wait.

Sometimes I have to wait a while. Sometimes a long while.

In The Trust the main characters were named once and the names stuck after having been pulled from out of the blue. The only names directly linked to actual names are the names of the canines in the book. One has the name of a friend's dog and the other shares the name of a cat I had as a child. This is more an inside joke as my current canine doesn't like cats, but I doubt he'll understand – though I did compose a blog about the lessons I have learned from him.

One interesting names in the book belongs to one of the main characters. It is a name shared by my nephew who was born after the book was written. I like to think my creating a character was the basis of my nephew ending up with his name, but that would be stretching things I am sure – or at least my brother says. This also reinforces the coincidence point when it comes to character names.

The biggest naming coincidence involves the name Leonardo Xavier Cross – perhaps the most important name in the book. This name was 100% pure concoction on my part and until recently I didn't think another moment about it knowing it was unique. That is until a friend pointed out that the main character in "Scrooged," which I readily admit is a movie I enjoy, is named Francis Xavier Cross. Similar, but a coincidence none-the-less.

Who knows? Perhaps Francis Xavier Cross is the long lost son of Leonardo Xavier Cross. Stranger things have happened.

So while you’re here please feel free to read an excerpt from my book or even buy a copy of your own.

1 comment:

shah wharton said...

Interesting article on names - great guestie! There are things I never even think about which I find out here - I am lurrving that.

Thanks as always for yourr visit Erin. Happy weekend.

Shah from wordsinsync. x