Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Unwrapping: Wacky Wednesday - Naming Game!

Olivia Hussey as Juliet in ROMEO AND JULIET - 1968
"What's in a name?

That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet." 

--spoken by Juliet in ROMEO AND JULIET by William Shakespeare

I am considering changing the names of my hero and heroine and as much as I love naming characters sometimes the hero and heroine are the hardest ones to name. As readers, we use everything the author gives us to build images of the characters we're being introduced to in our heads. So I'm wondering which is more important the name itself or the image it conjures?

Old Will Shakespeare says that no matter what we call the rose, it will smell just as sweet so does a name encourage or detract from how we feel about a character?

If I were to give my heroine a name like Gladys Poindexter, would you like her more or less? How about if you opened a book and the hero's name was Harold Flatbottom, what image would you draw from that name?

Of course, the description of a character may change your perception of the character altogether.  Say you're introduced to a character who is described as a tall, too thin man with thin scruffy brown hair, sallow skin, and an overbite with which he could open coke bottles. I don't think you'd want his name to be something like Lance Caldwell, would you? A name like that should belong to someone tall, well built, with silky thick brown hair and a dazzling smile. The other guy is more the Harold Flatbottom type.

If you opened a book and read about a woman who was tall and elegant with silky blond hair and the face of an angel, you wouldn't want her named Gladys Poindexter, would you? Don't get me wrong there are probably some Harolds and Gladys' in the world who are knockout gorgeous but, for some reason, we just don't want to meet them in our Romance Novels, do we?

Help me out a bit and let's see what names your imaginations can produce if I give you descriptions of the characters ... you can be as outrageous as you want or as serious as you want. If you hit on a name I really like and that I think fits my hero and/or heroine, I might just use it. So let's play!

My Hero:
He's tall, well over six feet. He has nearly black hair which is wavy and shoulder-length - he tends to wear it in a queue. He's a man of the sea so his skin is tan, his body is strong and muscular from years of working the life of a sea captain. His eyes are green like newly sprouted grass in a springtime field. He's got a smile that lights up his face and wants to make any woman around him smile as well. His features are strong but not hawkish. He wears a moustache which gives him a roguish look. He's around thirty years of age. His mother was French and his father was English but he was born and raised in what is now Louisiana.  Important point because time periods matter to names - the year is 1805.    GO!

My Heroine:
She's medium in stature, about five foot four, and thin but has well-developed curves. Her hair is long and curly, dark in color but contains a multitude of red highlights when the sunlight strikes it. She enjoys the outdoors and loves the sea so isn't as careful as she should be about protecting her skin from the sun. She easily gets a sprinkling of freckles across her nose when in the sun too long. She has large dark brown eyes.  Her father is of English descent but born and raised in the Colony of Virginia and her mother was English, born and raised in Hampshire, England.  She's around nineteen years old, Virginia born and American raised and on occasion has been known to use words like bollocksGO!

Who knows, some day my book may actually be published. If I use a name(s) suggested by my readers, I'll be sure to acknowledge it then. Thanks, ahead of time.

So what names would you give these characters? Btw, I was just made aware that I had forgotten to mention that I already have surnames that I am staying with. Hero - Hawkings and Heroine - Embry. Hope that helps your creative juices.  Thanks.  : )

Hope you found some good reading amidst the new releases and don't forget, the FORTUNE'S SON Giveaway runs through Thursday evening. If you interested in trying for chance at winning a copy of the book, click here!   Happy Reading!


Beebs said...

I've been puzzling over this all day, but the truth is I have no idea what names are actually relevant to the time period. So names I like for my heroes; Sebastian, Christian, Gideon, Max, Jonathon, Benjamin(Ben), Nicholas, Lucas/Lucien, Alex, Marcus. I'm particularly fond of Graeme and Adam, but those are my sons so I'm a little bit biased.

Heroines, hmmm, little bit stymied on this one, some of my favourite heroines are; Honoria,Jessica, Clarissa, Grace, Faith, Charlotte, Antonia, Emily, Lucy, Letitia, Justine, Ava.

Can't even begin to wrap my head around surnames Amy, there isn't enough coffee in the world for that. :)

Amy Valentini said...

LOL!! Oh Beebs, thanks for thinking so hard! Actually, I forgot to mention that I am going to keep the surnames but I like your list.
How does Emily Embry sound to you?
Caught my eye right away. Like Faith Embry, too!
Thanks Sweetie. I like your sons' names ... making a note of those. : )
I'll have to get your advice on some good Irish names. xox

Beebs said...

Haha, just as well you didn't need surnames, I'd be useless! Emily Embry rolls off the tongue quite nicely actually.

As for Irish names, it's usually the spelling that confuses people, eg. Aodbhe is pronounced Ava, and that's nothing to the place names, I always feel sorry for the poor tourists trying to find their way round. Anywhoooo, if you ever need help with Irish names no probs! :)

Amy Valentini said...

Beebs, I do have to admit that some of the Irish names throw me for a loop but I love the names. One of my all time favorites is
Siobhán. I love the way it's spelled and the way it's pronounced. Glad you like Emily Embry ... it's growing on me real fast. Thanks. : )
My original name for my hero was Christian (it's a family name) but then I named a character in my 2nd WIP that and it fit him better. Considering Beau - from his middle name Boudreau - B-eau, what do you think? Captain Beau Hawkings and Emily Embry ... still pondering. : )

Beebs said...

Well, we love Beau of course, thinking THE Beau, Brummell and Gaelen's Beau(next up). Capt. Beau Hawkings, yep, I like it!

Sea Captain or Army Captain, either is good, I'm fond of seamen(juvenile giggling every time I think that word, so sad) and I do like men in uniform. Description please?

Amy Valentini said...

Beebs, you make me laugh! I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who hasn't grown up inside even though we look like it on the outside!

Glad you like the name - I think I'm going with it. His full name will be Thomas Boudreau Hawkings, the 8th Earl of Parkhurst. When on the seas, he's Captain Beau Hawkings - it's an important part of the story. The description I did in the post is him. : )
Still contemplating Emily for the heroine's name. I like Beau and Emily - sound good?

Dalila G. said...

Evening Amy!

I was also thinking of names, but not too good at this name game you gave us as 'homework' LOL!!

I do like all of the names mentioned. Beebs has some good ones. I did finally decide on some for your female, remember, I said I'm not sure of period names, so bare with me and my list.....

Cordelia, Amelia, Isabella, Emma, Emilee.

Only because his mom was French ~ Tristan, Gaston, Bertrand, Anton, Andre, Arnaud.

OK, you can stop laughing now. :-)
See, not so good at names.

I will be thinking of some other ones, I actually had fun racking my brain for names.

Have a nice evening!

Dalila G. said...

I just finished my second load of laundry and I figured I'll start reading my book for awhile before I head off to bed, my usual routine, but all that keeps going around and around in my head are names! LOL!

So, here goes, ready for another round of laughter? ;-)

Male ~ Bryson, Justin, Nathaniel, Frederic, Jonathan and Ryder.

Female ~ Prudence, Hannah, Clarissa, Eliza, Rebecca, Rebeckha.

I do believe I am done now. :-)

Amy Valentini said...

OOOH Dalila G., I love your names. You did good, kiddo. Lots that I hadn't thought of at all. Love Tristan, Eliza, and have to say I'd love to use Amelia but I think that might be kind of conceited for me since it's my real name. LOL!! It is a great old-fashioned name. Actually, I hadn't thought of it until just now but Dalila would be a great name to use in my paranormal, if you don't mind. : )
Ooh, Gaston ... good one. I'm making note of all of these.
So whatcha reading?
I'm reading Anna Randol's A SECRET IN HER KISS and it's FAB! Will review next week.

Amy Valentini said...

Beebs and Dalila G., thank you, ladies, for all your help. I've got lots to consider and I'll remember all of your wonderful help on down the line. Hoping to this baby finished sometime soon and submitted. So, we shall see.
Thank you both for rescuing me. xoxo

Dalila G. said...

Morning Amy,

Happy to help in any way possible. Geez, I never realized how nerve-wracking finding names could be let alone writing a whole book!! Wishing you the best of luck and loads of writing power.

I would definitely be A-OK with you using my name in a book!! Major YAY factor for me.
Let me know if you find me a Samson. ;-)

I just wrapped up reading IN THE BARRISTER'S CHAMBERS by Tina Gabrielle, I liked, and I just started DEVIL'S KISS by Zoe Archer, I'm on page 13 right now.

Amy Valentini said...

Oooh, a Samson and Dalila themed book -- y'all are sooooo inspiring!

Haven't read either of those but they just got added to my TBR list. Thanks and Happy Groundhog Day! May winter end soon and the sweet smell of Spring be upon us. : )