Sunday, June 27, 2010

What's in a Name?

Naming characters is sometimes the easiest part of a book and sometimes the hardest. Some characters name themselves. A name just pops into my head that would be perfect for the person I’m writing about. Other times, nothing feels right. Or when I do finally come up with a name, it’s too close to the name of another character in the book and I can’t use it.

One of the things you have to keep in mind about naming characters is not just what the name sounds like or what it may mean. It’s also important to see how the name looks written out on the page. Try writing about characters named Bryan and Byron in a book and see how fast your editor breaks out the red pen. (Of course, there’s always an exception to any rule. Check out: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. No, seriously. Check it out. Loved it.)

For Love, Hollywood Style, I had pretty much the easiest time ever naming my characters because I did something I’ve never done before and will probably never do again. Since the book is a romantic comedy set at a movie studio, I named all my main characters after the characters in one of my favorite movies of all time: The Philadelphia Story.

Tracy = Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn)
Dex = C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant)
Connor = Macauley Connor (Jimmy Stewart)
Liz = Elizabeth Imbrie (Ruth Hussey)

Even though there are no real parallels between the two stories, it was my way of paying homage to a true classic romantic comedy. If you like witty dialogue and snappy comebacks, I highly recommend The Philadelphia Story. It is one of the most sharply written movies ever.

1 comment:

Debbie Rigaud said...

What a cool naming story! Love back stories. I'm the type of person who always watches the "Special Features" on a DVD, so I of course enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing. :-)