What’s in a Name?

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If there is one thing I struggle with more than anything else in writing, it’s naming my characters. I can’t explain it, I just get a mental block. With very few exceptions, I don’t think I’m ever fully happy with the names I give them. Sometimes it just falls into place like it did with Henrietta Hedgekin. BUT, what people don’t know (and I am about to reveal) is that originally, Ben was called Billy. I was about half way through the story when I decided to change it. Billy and Tilly just didn’t seem to work like I wanted it to. I mean, if you have twins, you’re unlikely to call them something like that, right? And yes, I get the irony in talking about realistic names in a book that includes a shapeshifting broom with with handlebars. It does kind of highlight the point though. In a world containing the fantastic, you need the regular, everyday things as well. If you do decide on a name change halfway through though, make sure you pay extra attention when your editing after the first draft. A find and replace function will help with what you’ve already written, but it won’t help with what is still to come. And after using the original for so long it is very easy to slip back without realizing.

So going back to coming up with names. I’m going to stick with Henrietta because it has a good blend of regular names and completely made up names. In fact, there is a naming convention that I decided to put in place which has helped a great deal. All the witches in this world have pretty regular first names. The magic comes from their surname. Hedgekin is a reference to being a Hedge Witch (I’ll let you guys look into that). In book 2 we meet Henrietta’s friend, Amanda Moonstar. Regular, everyday firstname; magical based surname. Having a convention such as this can be a huge help when world building. Remember, it’s your world and your rules.

The naming problem isn’t just a thing that plagues the rank amateurs like myself. And having a naming style is definitely nothing new. Probably the most famous comes from Marvel comics and from the late, great Stan Lee himself. Notice how many Marvel characters first and last names start with the same letter:

  • Peter Parker (Spider-Man)
  • Steven Strange (Doctor Strange)
  • Reed Richards (Mr Fantastic)
  • J Jonah Jameson (Oh come on!)

The reason behind this, as admitted by Stan Lee himself, is that he is terrible with names. Both coming up with and remembering. By creating a simple rule of having the first letters be the same, it makes the creation of names a lot simpler.

So the next time you’re struggling with naming characters in your WIP, try coming up with a naming style that works for you. Even if you only use it for that one story, it will make things a lot simpler and be one less hurdle to overcome.

Dead Beat Characters – Katherine Takayama

Character review number two is finally here. This week I am introducing Katherine Takayama, an officer in the Cyber Security Division of the New Salt Lake PD. Every Sci-Fi needs a computer genius right? Let’s meet her:

Officer Katherine Takayama

Kate Takayama is the youngest member of the NSLPD Cyber Security Division. Don’t let her age fool you though. Takayama (Kat to her friends) is one of the most skilled members of the CSD. Two years after graduating from the academy she had already made a name for herself by stopping some of the more sophisticated attempts at hacking into the Global Online Directory core system. Despite Kat’s obvious geekness, she displays very little of the associated social difficulties. In fact this 5’9″ Asian/American genius has a reputation as being a bit of a party animal. Kat prides herself on being not only able to drink most of her male colleagues under the table; But to then get on the table and moonwalk.

In many ways she is the polar opposite of John Ellis (more on him next week by the way). Both however have a reluctance to work with anybody else. When the pair first get partnered up there is an obvious tension between them. Ellis’s reasons for not wanted a partner are well known. Takayama’s are not so clear and she becomes very defensive/offensive if you try to get an explanation. What secrets is Kat hiding and what is the cause of her single minded obsession with taking down The Clan of The Chosen?

Next week we get too meet the unwitting hero of Dead Beat; Detective John Ellis.

Dead Beat Characters – Rev. Jacob Green

Welcome to the first Character review for my Dead beat series. Today I’m going to focus on our key villain; Reverend Jacob Green (Booo, HISSSS). This guy is going to replace Kane from the “Poltergeist” series as the scariest fictional preacher of all time. But enough talk, let’s meet him:

Reverend Jacob Green

Rev. Jacob green, founder of The Clan of the Chosen, is a man with no history. His sudden appearance as the churches leader occurred around three months after the Global Online Database (the replacement for the now archaic Internet) was brought online in 2048. Not long after the Green’s sudden emergence, the first sighting of a Ghost was reported and he began recruiting members for his new and apocalyptic church. Jacob Green soon made a name for himself across the country as the preeminent Evangelical preacher as well as a cutthroat business man. He had soon amassed wealth as fast as he did followers, enabling him to take his new religion global. His sudden rise to notoriety has a lot of people questioning his motives. The speculated involvement of his church and followers in certain high profile geoglobal problems, although not proven, have caught the attention of certain authorities.

Through all this, no one has come close to the truth to learning who and what Jacob green really is. Nor have they any idea of how he is linked to the Global Online Directory project. Greens plans go beyond the sermons he performs and all but those in his closest circle have any idea what his true goal is.

So this is a pretty vague character overview (don’t want to give too much away 😉 ). Basically Green is a generally unpleasant person who uses peoples fears to control and use them for his own ends. Now that we have our villain we need a hero. Stay tuned for the character profile Detective John Ellis, coming to this blog soon.