Our names are labels, plainly printed on the bottled essence of our past behavior. ~Logan Pearsall Smith
Have you ever wondered how an author chooses a name for a character in a book? I do, many times. Does the author know a person with a similar name, or did they randomly select a name out of a phone book with their eyes closed?
I do a little of both. Sometimes a name just strikes me as sounding like the character. For instance, the detective in the mystery/thriller I’m working on is named Nate Cliffton. I totally made that one up and if there is a man, who is a detective out there, named Nate Cliffton, I beg your pardon. I meant no disrespect or invasion of privacy, but I thought Nate Cliffton sounded like a no nonsense, honest, hard-working kind of guy.
As I’m editing Flashback to the Dragon, the spelling/grammar checker keeps stopping at Cliffton and asking if I want to replace it with Clifton. If I had wanted to spell his name with one “f” I would have, but since I didn’t I keep selecting “ignore once” or “ignore all.” But it got me thinking about names in books.
I almost posted a tweet or a question on Facebook, asking the indie authors out there how they picked a name for their characters, but I thought that would be silly so instead I hid the question in my little blog post that goes out once a week.
There are some great names out there, Lucas Davenport in the thriller series written by John Sandford, and Odd Thomas, from the wonderful mystery series by Dean Koontz. I love the name of the detective in the series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Aloysius Pendergast. The name itself creates stories in my head. How fun is Jack Daniels from the detective series by J.A. Konrath, and how authoritative does Lincoln Rhyme sound for an investigator’s name in the series by Jeffery Deaver.
I could go on, but I won’t. It would be boring for anyone outside of my head. But if you have a minute, comment and let me know where your character names come from. I’d love to hear.