This year I am writing a novel.
Back at the beginning of May I spoke about having read Terry Brooks book Lessons from a Writing Life: Sometimes the Magic Works. So, here I will quote Walter Mosley’s words as shared by Terry Brooks, “…that writing is gathering smoke – the smoke of dreams, if ideas, of the imagination.” Terry Brooks goes on to say that he thinks that writers “…are gathering smoke” to make something solid. I love this idea of gathering smoke so much so that it partly inspired today’s post.
Of course there are so many aspect of gathering smoke that the other thing that is inspiring today’s post is my love of names. Naming characters is one of my favourite things. Way back in 2016 I wrote a post about names called “Names Matter.” I may have wrote others but that one popped into my head. Anyway, names can be hard and I usually put a bit of time and effort into picking them which brings me back to Terry Brooks and Lessons from a Writing Life: Sometimes the Magic Works.
What do you think about the name Firebow? To me it sounds like a fitting name for an elf who is the army or some kind of protector. This character would be skilled in the use of a bow with fire arrows. Can you guess what my advice to myself was with that name?
Write it down
One of the tips that I have adopted after reading book Lessons from a Writing Life: Sometimes the Magic Works is carrying a name book. Terry Brooks talks about names and how he uses a small note book where he writes down names as he comes across them so he has his own little name source book. He talks about it saving time… I liked the idea a lot and I now have my own little book that I have been tracking great names that appeal to me.
This little book and I have a workable log of names I can source. It has the potential to save me research time later. I don’t know about you but I can’t just pull a colourful name out of the air. How about the name Minebrow? For me, this name screams interesting. I picture it as a surname for a dwarf. My current story doesn’t have dwarfs or any other fantasy creatures in it but the next one might. Can you guess what my advice to myself was with that name?
Write it down
Your get the idea. But to come up with those names in the moment as I am writing likely wouldn’t happen. Time and effort would be required. So, when it comes to me, whether I need it or not, I write it down. Sources for names are everywhere!
What is your character naming system?
By Shari Marshall – 2021