I recently read an article in the Writers' Forum Magazine about how important it is to choose the right names for the fictional characters we write about, and it got me thinking about how I chose the names for the people in my novel-in-progress.
My villain of the piece was easy. She was a real life countess who ruled her lands with a heart of steel. Erzsebet (Elizabeth) Bathory. I didn't even think about changing her name. It suited an evil vampiress more than any name I could make up, so it stayed.
My hero was a bit more tricky. I wanted a simple plain english name, but one that, I hoped, would be memorable. I decided to call my hero Adam. After all he was the first man I had created for a full-length novel, so what was more fitting than the name of the first man God created? When it came to giving him a surname, I remembered the novels I had read by Susan Howatch. Ms Howatch had always used the place names from the areas she set her stories in. So out came my tattered old map of Kent, and there I found the name Pevensey Bay. So Adam Pevensey was born.
The names of my lesser characters were no less important to me, and I sometimes found myself stumped for hours...days...weeks, until I could come up with a name I would be happy with. As all you writers out there know, we have to live with these names for months at a time, so they must be ones we feel comfortable with.
When I think of my favourite books by my favourite authors I realise they are alive with wonderful names. Scarlett O' Hara. David Copperfield. Philip Pirrip. Pennywise the Clown. Jane Eyre. Demelza Poldark. Skin Kadash...the list goes on and on.
So, how important are your characters names to you? And how do you go about naming them.....?