Memorable May

What's my name?


I was in awe, yet again, at the beauty of this plant during May (the rest of the year it looks rather brown and sad). I know it’s a Japanese plant but I don’t know what it’s called, which is rather irritating. Names are so important, especially when it comes to writing and making characters memorable – as well as assigning identity.

When writing stories or novels, getting the name right is essential. Characters should stick in the reader’s mind. After all, if a reader connects with a character, they are more likely to buy the sequel or the next novel by the same author. I often use a ‘?’ until I come up with a suitable name for my characters. Then I go through the tedious process of ‘googling’ every prospective name I have come up with to make sure it doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. Does anyone else do that or am I being too pedantic? 

My all-time inspirational writer (to date) is Ian Fleming. I have read his James Bond novels over and over and just adore his use of language but most predominantly the skill for naming characters. He most certainly got it right with James Bond who has spanned the generations to still be an international household name. How can one compete with names such as Pussy Galore, Jaws, Vesper Lynd, Miss Moneypenny, M, Q… ?
  
I was thrilled to hear that Anthony Horowitz has taken on the mammoth task of writing the next James Bond and will be bringing back the illustrious Pussy Galore. I am intrigued and look forward to reading the end product. Horowitz, I’m sure, will recapture the ‘real’ Bond Ian Fleming created and give us all a treat.

What’s your favourite character name? And, does anyone know the name of the beautiful Japanese plant that shines in my garden this time of year?

Comments

  1. I read all the Ian Flemming books when I was in high school. I love Roger Zelazny for this prose and his way to capture my imagination (he was my inspiration to write.) Thanks for the kind words on Chrys' blog on my guest post. :-)

    Choosing the names for my characters is highly important to me. With my young character, Victor Standish, I had his mother choose his first name to teach him he was a victor in life not a victim. Victor chose his own last name which is explained in the middle of his first book. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely to 'meet' you Roland and thank you for popping by to comment. I've not read Roger Zelazny - I must look into that. I love how you created Victor Standish and the thought behind it. What a unique way of naming a character. I'll keep that in mind for future projects. Wishing you lots of success!!

      Delete
  2. I'm not very good at plants I'm afraid. I'd hazard a guess at azalea, but I'm sure I'm wrong.
    Have you read any of the young Bond books by Charlie Higson? I won a set and enjoyed reading them.
    I have so many favourite character names - I'd be here all day ;-) xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for your comment, Teresa. I haven't read Charlie Higson. I'll look into that. All the best.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I often use the names of friends or family in a first draft and then rename them later. It's a good way of not being stopped when writing. If I stopped to dream up names I might not get going again.
    The plant looks like azalea to me too but I can't be sure from a close up. Take a photo from a distance before it goes brown.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment, Lynne. It's a close-up because it is so tiny - don't think it's an azalea. Will take another pic.
      I've tried using friend and family names but then tended to give my characters their traits, which didn't always gel - hence the ? Although I must say, I do tend to over-name at times and give insignificant characters a name. Something I need to work on.

      Delete
  5. I thought your plant might be a weigelia, but the leaves don't look right for that. I'll have a think.

    To brighten it up later in the year you could add the gardening equivalent of a sub plot by planting a late flowering clematis nearby, so it climbs over you shrub and provides summer colour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love your subplot idea, Patsy. I will definitely try that one. Thank you for commenting. All the best.

      Delete
  6. Beautiful photo, Nicola, but I don't know the plant's name - agree with Teresa that it looks rather Azalea-like. I have to know my characters' names before I can get on with a story or it holds me up - probably because it is such an intrinsic part of the characterisation. I've always been a Bond fan and I love everything Anthony Horowitz has written so that's worth waiting for!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for commenting, Rosemary. Horowitz is a fabulous and interesting writer. I must read more of his books. Have a lovely and productive week. All the best!

      Delete
  7. What a stunning picture, Nicola. I think it could be an azalea too, but I'm not very gifted at naming plants. I do love naming characters though and I am often surprised that I choose names I don't especially like. They just feel right for the character without me knowing why. I often set stories in the past, so the names have to suit the era. I tend to cast my mind back to school-days and use my old classmates' and teachers' names, or if I go further back in time, I try to recall the names of my parents' relations and siblings. Most of the time, I use names that are quite ordinary and therefore don't distract from the story itself. I also avoid names that end in 's' so that they don't look and sound awkward with apostrophes! x

    PS: I love Patsy's subplot idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for popping by and commenting, Joanna. It seems like we all have our own way of naming characters. Good idea about avoiding names that end with 's'. I have a character named Jacques and well... I can't rename him now because that's who he is but I will keep the ole apostrophe in mind when I develop new characters. Wishing you all the best with your upcoming publication of "Tying Down the Lion". I am really looking foward to reading it. I can relate well to its subject and setting. Can't wait. All the very best and much success!!

      Delete
  8. Choosing names is such a weak area for me with my writing, I must do better. I usually assign my characters names of people I know so I can remember them as I write! Will do better on this next book. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To remember names of characters, I form a profile for each one and have them pinned up on my board. I do stare them out quite a bit, sussing out who they are and how they would react in certain situations.It is well worth the time and effort into profiling, then I don't mix up hair/eye colour etc. I wish you lots of fun with your work in progress, Terri. Thank you so much for visiting and taking the time to comment.

      Delete
  9. No clue about your plant's name, but it sure is beautiful. That's really cool Horowitz will be taking on the James Bond series. I loved his Alex Ryder series, and I need to read the ones he did with Sherlock Holmes. For the most part, names just come to me. *shrugs* I do sometimes look up some names, though, if I want them to mean a certain thing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for your comment, Cherie. I'm sure Horowitz won't let us down :) Take good care and continue to enjoy the writing. All the best.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't have a problem with names - all of them seem to end up with the same one (it's easier that way).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) That's one way of doing it, Wendy. Hope the novel is shaping up nicely. All the best.

      Delete
  12. Ian Fleming certainly has a way with naming characters...those cheesy naming conventions usually only works with certain types of stories, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Stephanie. Thank you for popping by to comment. Lovely 'to see' you. All the best!

      Delete
  13. No idea what your plant is, but I want one!
    My main characters usually come to me with their first names attached, but I often have to try out several surnames before I find one that fits. An exception was in my children's novel. It's a fantasy adventure so I wanted the two main characters to have unusual, fantasy names. While I was trying to decide what to call them I gave them both nicknames - then I realized those nicknames were what they would call each other, so I kept them.
    The master of naming his characters has to be Dickens - Scrooge, Mr Pumblechook, Bumble, Uriah Heep etc. etc.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I agree, Linda, Dickens was a master at naming his characters. I wonder how his mind was working :) I must admit, I would have no idea how to come up with fantasy names - apart from picking letters out of a hat :) That sounds like fun. I'll let you know what I come up with :) Thank you for commenting. Always lovely 'to see' you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Googling character names is a good idea. I sometimes find out I've come up with names from movies that I saw years ago. Never a good thing, that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) Thank you for your comment, Milo. Hope the book sales are going well. All the best!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Hello! So pleased you've popped by. I love to read your comments, so do leave one - even if it's just to say 'hi'!