Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What's In a Name?

I agonize over my character names. They have to be just right. I have baby name books, Scottish name books, name websites flagged in my favorites, a compiled list on my computer of all my favorites, male and female. Sometimes I even pull out the phone book in search of the perfect name. I can't start writing the book until I get it right, find the one that fits. Take the second contemporary I'm playing around with. For some reason, the hero's name has to be Dash. I can't get it out of my head and even though I'm not sure it's my most favorite name ever, it fits the character to a tee. So Dash it is. Although I've compromised by having that be a nickname. I'm not entirely sure what his mother calls him yet.

I'm the same way with the books I read. The character's name can stop me cold.

Take Gervase for instance. I don't like it. It doesn't say sexy to me. It says, "I'm a smarmy little French guy with a bad moustache and oily skin." It takes some pretty powerful writing to get me over that name. Mary Balogh pulled it off in her Slightly series, but I can't think of anyone else off the top of my head.

And I'm quite certain if the heroine was named Bertha or Helga, I would have to leave the book behind on the shelf.

Similarly, I find I react the same to certain physical types. An overly hairy hero? Ugh. Or facial hair (this could potentially go for the hero or the heroine I suppose, although I have yet to run into the latter...). Not big on the facial hair at all. And when a heroine is described as a six foot amazon all I can picture is some refugee from the roller derby ready to arm-wrestle the hero into submission, sling him over her shoulder and drag him back to her cave. Not really the romantic picture I want in my head while I'm reading.

So does anyone else have any quirks, likes, dislikes about the characters they write about, or the ones they read about?


Melissa Marsh said...

Ok, I know this is REALLY weird, but I don't like blonde heroes. Give me dark brown or black, but not blonde. I just don't find them very attractive. Of course, there are always exceptions...:-)

Tess said...

Heroes with no chest hair. And heroes with long hair (unless, I suppose, they're Vikings). With the exception of Adrian Paul, I generally don't like men with long hair.

Now facial hair, that doesn't faze me at all *g*. Ya just have to look at my dh to know that :-)

Julie S said...

I'm particular on every nuance of my characters, both physical and emotional. And their names have to fit them perfectly. It's agonizing, but worth it because it makes them more real in the end!!

Stacy Dawn said...

I can't put the first sentence in chapter one until I know their names and they 'feel' right. I could have the whole darn story figured out but until the names are known, my mind won't let my fingers touch the keyboard.

Long hair on men turn me off. I don't mind it longer as in just above the shoulder but past that is just ick for some reason.