What are we talking about today? Well if you don’t get the reference in the title… you’re probably a time traveller from before the 16th centruy. Welcome to 2014; expect less plague, and more hashtags.
Incidentally, the main character for Troped! was almost called Rose.
So, naming your characters. For me, there are a few methods of doing this–Rooks went mostly with theme naming because Arthurian mythology was important to the society in the story. In novels where there’s a made up world, I can make up any names I want. Funnily enough, naming characters closer to home is trickier. Here are a few things we can do:
1. Pick a letter of the alphabet and run through all the names you can think of beginning with that letter. If you’re anything like me, something will jump out at you. This can cause problems if the letter that jumps out at you is ‘Z’, and you already have a character in another novel called ‘Zack’, as has happened to me. I ended up going with ‘Zeal’, and as the character’s mother was psychotic, it ended up working.
2. I have a t-shirt I got when I graduated uni that lists all the people who graduated with me on the back. Sometimes I’ll just pick a name from there, and you can do this looking at names on books in a bookstore, names from a bibliography, names at the end credits of a movie, anywhere you find a list of names, really.
3. Picking a name that means something to the character, which is what we’re looking at today. I don’t normally do this, but I felt it worked well for Troped! because of the satirical nature of the book.
Here are some names I prepared earlier:
Enjoy the doodle of my Five Bad Band at the top.
As you can see from the scribbling, I changed three names. This is something I usually don’t like doing, as once a name pops into my head, I tend to stick with thinking of a character that way, but the big reason I usually have for changing them is that they evoke thoughts of another character (usually from another creator) too strongly. The reason I didn’t call the Hero ‘Rose’, for example, is because I considered it too likely to be compared to Rose Tyler from Dr. Who. The same reason I wouldn’t call a hero ‘Harry’ or ‘Bella’; at least, not for a few decades. I don’t mind doing this when I want to make a reference to another character, but when I don’t it bugs me.
HERO: Other names I rejected for the Hero were Danielle and Katerina–the latter of which you can see crossed out on the page. Why were these rejected? Because the diminutive forms are ‘Dani’ and ‘Kat’, as in Dany from Game of Thrones and Katniss from Hunger Games. Boy, this Hero really wanted an unintentionally derivative name! I wanted something modern, ordinary and…. I think ‘humble’ is what I was going for. Amy came to my head when I started going through the names of people I’d gone to primary school with and in this case is not short for anything. ‘Turner’ is a word that features in with both her and her brother’s characters.
LANCER: Jericho because I wanted a ‘J’ name for him, and because of the fall of the walls, as our Jerry experiences his own ‘fall’ in the story. ‘Solus’ because of the isolation that will happen once he Heel-Face Turns and becomes [more or less] alone, solus or something close to it being ‘alone’ or something close to it in Latin, from which the words sole and solitary come.
BIG GUY: I definitely wanted a character called ‘Adrian’, but decided it would fit the Dragon better so he and his sister would have alliterative names; you can see it crossed out there. Joan should also be crossed out at this point. I’d decided this character was to be a font of bad luck, or at least be seen as such, and didn’t want his nickname to be ‘Omen’… because I thought it would be too evokative of the movie. ‘Joan’ was supposed to be short for ‘Jonah’, but I didn’t like it because it seemed to reach a bit… and I’ve ended up going with ‘Harbinger’. His real name, meanwhile, is ‘Heath’ for Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights, because he’s the one who’s inspired all these Stepford Brooders, and ‘St. Kilda’, after the island of St. Kilda where no one lives anymore, because as a character Harbinger is pretty much empty inside.
SMART GUY: ‘Tessa’ because it sounded light and bouncy. ‘Lovelace’ as a reference to Ada Lovelace, because she was involved with the first computer design and Tessa is a hacker.
CHICK: ‘Hannah’ because she has long blonde hair, and I used to know a girl called Hannah who’s the first person that pops into my head when I think ‘long blonde hair’. ‘Wright’, as a homonym of ‘right’ because she’s so kind and charming, and everything is ‘right’ with her. I think I’m going to enjoy killing her off…
BIG BAD: ‘Niccolo’, as an obvious reference to Machiavelli. ‘Cheviot’ is a breed of sheep, used partially for my mum, who loves sheep, but mostly because it’s a fake name, and his real name is Nick Mackenzie. Mackenzie is a reference to a specific subspecies of wolf, so Nick is a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’–if you remember from last post, he starts off masquerading as a teacher at the high school. Marvel at the in-joke at the bottom of the page, wherein I asked my mum ‘what’s a good sheep name for a person?’ and she replied ‘California Variant Mutant’.
DRAGON: As explained above.
BRUTE: Both of her names are famously the names of brands of guns, and the character was designed as a living weapon. I was a little afraid that both of these had too much connection to the TV show ‘Supernatural’ to not be taken as a reference, but in this case the name simply fit so well, and she’ll be called ‘Winnie’ in the text anyway.
MAD SCIENTIST: ‘Lucifer’, because evil, but also because of his extremely light colouring, and ‘Twist’ for his twisted personality.
DARK CHICK: I was trying to think of something really preppy for my DC (sorry, Mercedeses of the world) and ‘Mercedes’ was what came to mind. Then Talbot, after Dawn Talbot from ‘Verity’, who those of you who read my book commentaries will know is the standard to which I hold all Mean Girl characters in fiction. (the entertainment factor standard, that is). It’s also a reference to the original ‘Wolfman’, which compliments the Big Bad nicely.
The Colony they live on: Rhea. It was… the first word that came to mind.
The Spaceship they later end up on: Mondegreen. It’s a trope on TV Tropes I happened to come across and thought it would be a good name for a ship. I can’t actually tell what it was called before, but I think it was a distaff counterpart to–
The Bad Guy’s Spacehip: Parhelion. An atmospheric anomaly in which it appears there are three suns. Because it was a word I’d just learned, and it sounded cool.
That’s all for this page, tune in next time for a doodle of the Five Man Band, and the draft outline of the first few chapters!