Tuesday, August 18, 2015

G is for Gideon

Jennifer talk about what’s in a name…

So, if you’ve read this blog more than a few times, you know a lot about the regular contributors to Heroines with Hearts. You know Ana is very into astrology and uses it to come up with her character’s personality traits. You know Paula likes her heroes to have one-syllable names. You know Debra uses country music as inspiration and you know Margaret writes amazing alpha heroes.

As for me, I use baby name books (or rather, I did, until I got rid of my actual baby name books and now depend on the naming sites on the Internet). For me, the number one way to learn about my character is with his or her name. Not only do I want it to sound pleasing to the ear, but I want the name to mean something appropriate for the character. Or, I want the reader, just by hearing the name, to immediately know about the character’s traits.

In A Heart of Little Faith, the hero’s name is Gideon. Because his character is in a wheelchair, I wanted a name that conveyed strength. The meaning is Destroyer. While he’s not a violent man, you can’t get any stronger than that. I’ve also heard the name means Rock. Again, a name of strength.

Once I had the name chosen, I was able to keep that strength in mind when picturing him and able to put him in situations and describe him in ways that conveyed that strength.

The first time Lily, my heroine, meets him, they are in an art gallery. She immediately sees he’s in a wheelchair, but that’s not what sticks out to her. In fact, when asked to describe him, this is what she says:

“So, what’s he like?
Arrogant boor flashed in her mind like a cheap neon sign.
But then she remembered the way his smile shone brighter than the paintings on display, how his husky laugh tickled places inside her long dormant, the way his hand gripped hers as if to promise to take care of her forever.
A magnetic energy had emanated from him, drawing her closer, almost against her will. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from him.
Lily blushed.

And hopefully, right from the start, the reader agrees.








11 comments:

  1. The right name for a hero really does help solidify him in a writer's mind!
    Great post.

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    1. Thanks, Ana. For me, it makes them come alive.

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  2. Must admit I never look at the meanings of names - mainly on the basis that parents don't know what characteristics their new baby will have when it grows up. Often a name jumps out at me when I first start thinking about a story, but I also check lists of the 'top 100' names in a specific decade to make sure the name is appropriate for the age of the character.

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    1. Oh, I looked at baby name meanings when I was deciding on names for my kids too. And I definitely do it as a writer, since I'm creating a character already formed (for the most part).

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    2. Never did that with my kids! I go for names that somehow resonate with me, even though I couldn't define why!

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  3. I often jot down names if I see one I like in the newspaper or magazines. I also have a name book. But very often when I have the character in mind a name will jump out at me. It's almost as though they're telling me themselves what their name is.

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    1. That's exactly what happens with me, Margaret! :-) In one novel, I couldn't decide on the name of the hero, so I called him Jack as a 'temporary' name. By the time I was part way through writing, he 'became' Jack, and I couldn't change his name, so I'm now sure he decided that was his name!

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  4. You know us all so well! :)

    I've used baby name lists on-line sometimes if I'm trying to find a complement for my other character, but most of the time the names just kind of come to me.

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  5. I find choosing names very difficult. In the latest WIP I hadn't noticed until it was pointed out that most names started with S. I obviously like them!
    Carol

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    1. I have a lot of K names in my current WIP and need to rename a few of the secondary characters!

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