Like many first-time authors, I'm caught in the middle of two pulls. The excitement of landing a publishing contract and launching a writing career wrestles with the fear of remaining anonymous, the fear that none will read my novel. Though the book hasn't even been published, with a website in my name and increasing social media presence I decided to Google search myself. I was surprised.
|Who am I?|
I then started thinking less about my own name, and more about my characters. I;m not going to change my name, but every character name is completely up to me. In my first (unpublished) novel, I spent weeks and weeks agonizing over the perfect names. In my earliest drafts, characters would talk to NAME1 or NAME2, since I couldn't bear to label any of the figures permanently.
In School of Deaths, the main character was originally Billy Black. Black is a color associated with death and darkness, and I liked the alliteration. Billy is a name for a kid, a fun name. Then I switched the novel so it was told from a girl's perspective. I'm not completely sure where Suzie Sarnio emerged from as a name, perhaps a tribute to my own Italian heritage.
Sometimes naming a character appropriately can be strange. In School of Deaths, a minor character is a figure called Athanasius. Athanasius is a goat-like figure who welcomes Suzie to the College of Deaths. His eyes are yellow like a lizard's, his face and hands look like a goat. He is the first Elemental Suzie meets; the Elementals are one of the major species in my world. After naming him, I went to see an eye specialist. The doctor's name, as he greeted me, was Athanasius. As the ophthalmologist examined me, I couldn't help but envision a pair of yellow lizard eyes staring at me, and hands like a goat's....
How do you name characters?