Author of OUTBACK LOVE a contemporary romance novel set in Australia, JETTING AWAY a short story prequel to OUTBACK LOVE, MOON OVER MADNESS a paranormal romantic comedy and BAYOU BLUES AND OTHER SORROWS a collection of short stories and poems about life and love. All are available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel and Kobo. On Twitter @TeriHeyer

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Importance of Names

Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler are favs.


I happen to have an obsession with names. Maybe due to my rather ordinary birth name of Teresa Ann and my lifetime nickname of Teri. I know, there are more ordinary names than Teresa Ann, Terry Ann and Teri, but come on, couldn't my parents have come up with something a bit more unique?

As a kid I was always changing my name. Nicola and Nickie featured prominently in my early years. I'd read Mary Stewart's The Moonspinners and the heroine, Nicola Ferris, sounded so exotic as she traipsed around the Island of Crete.

I went by Samantha and Sam in my early high school years. I suppose it had something to do with the TV show, Bewitched. I could wiggle my nose just like Sam. My boyfriend at the time, Scotty, always called me Sam for that very reason.



I've always loved the name, Nicola Ferris.


Later in high school I became Tracy and then Traci. It had to do with a character in a James Bond movie, I forget which one. In fact, I think my mom is the one who actually started calling me Tracy after she saw the movie.

For many years I was Missy. My mom started that one too. I don't think she's ever told me why she started calling me Missy, but she still uses it now and then to this day.

I've used Tes off and on for years. I'm a sometimes artist and Tes is a great signature on a painting. Plus, I just like the sound of Tes.

As a writer I know that naming your characters is ever so important. It just won't do to write a medieval romance and name your hero and heroine, Bob and Sally. No kidding, I came across a medieval romance a long time back with just those names. I didn't read the book, because the names just didn't seem to fit the medieval genre.



What better character name than Travis McGee?

If your hero is supposed to be a to-die-for hunk, I don't think you'd want to name him Larry, Harold or Donald. If you happen to have one of those names, please forgive me for using your name as an example. I don't think I'd swoon over a hero with one of those names.

Some names are so well known, like Scarlett O'Hara and Elvis, that it's maybe not such a good idea to use those names in a book. Though if you're wanting readers to always think of Scarlet or Elvis as they read your book, then the names work and serve a purpose.

I just saw online that the top baby names for 2013 are Imogene and Asher. Well, at least those are different and I rather like them. Hmm! I can instantly imagine characters with those colorful names.


My favorite resource for character names.

I'm currently working on a Young Adult Dystopian novel and I've given the characters the coolest of names. Or at least I think their names are cool. However, I'm not going to mention the names here. You'll have to wait until the book is finished, which may take me a while (I'm writing rather slow these days).

I've been writing practically forever and I have this name book that I'm always using when I create my characters. I imagine it's still in print: The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon. There are dozens of other books of baby names which would also do the trick.

I have so many favorite literary characters/names. I'll always love Travis McGee, James Bond, Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak, Katniss and Peeta, Darcy, Hawk-eye, D'Artagnan, I could go on and on.



Read Shakespeare for great names.


If you want to find some awesome names, just read Shakespeare.  Nothing compares to the names: Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet. 

Just remember, whether you're naming your baby, your dog or cat, or your literary characters, names are of the up most importance.

Hmm! I almost forgot to mention my latest name, Nana, bestowed upon me by my three adorable grandkids. I have to admit, that's the best name of all.

(Note - This is my college edition of The Complete Works of Shakespeare. The text is old and well loved. I also have a copy on my Kindle Fire. I can't get enough of Shakespeare.)

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