Today debut verse novelist, Stasia Ward Kehoe has stopped by to give us her take on the Character of Names concerning her characters in Audition.
SWK: Naming characters is such a fascinating element of the writing process. With the myriad of fun 'Notes on Names' that follow reviews here at The Mod Podge Bookshelf, this is certainly the right place to share a little bit about naming characters in AUDITION.
Coming up with names in contemporary YA presents different challenges than in fantasy or sci-fi novels where you can build a whole new world, and a new vocabulary. In realistic fiction, an odd name stands out as a statement while an ordinary name likely invites many readers to picture someone they know. There are similar obstacles in plotting realistic fiction versus say, dystopian paranormal. Your characters are not allowed to fly or jump through walls or bite (well, hardly ever). You strive for choices that the reader can realistically consider making himself or herself. From plotting to naming, the process needs to feel organic and work with the shapes of the language. So, how did I name Sara and Remington?
I wanted a name that was classical and had a New England feel, since she’s from Vermont. In the end I named her after the main character in A LITTLE PRINCESS by Frances Hodgson Burnett. That’s why the name is spelled without an “h” at the end, just like Burnett’s Sara Crewe who, by the way, was also a graceful dancer!
Did I name this bad-boy choreographer for Remington Steele (the hot Pierce Brosnan) or Remington brand razors (since Rem always has a bit of stubble)? Nope. It’s actually the name of the son of a friend of a friend. I chose it because it sounded complicated and unusual, but also very strong and full of consonants.
Right now I am writing a book about a young actress. I named her after a real 1960s celebrity. It was interesting because using that name creates an immediate image in my head which I have to fight against because the character looks very different from the real-life star. Ah, the battles writers must wage! And not just against vampires!
On a funnier note, a guy came to the house last week to fix a sink. He told me his name was Elon, which I absolutely loved. Wikipedia informs me that the name means “true” or “oak tree” in Hebrew--interesting, huh? So, look out for an Elon in my next novel. I just can’t resist. Although I do wonder if I’ll keep picturing the plumber...
I loved The Little Princess growing up, though the story always made me cry! If you want to read Audition, I have a copy for a follower who answers Stasia's question found below:
SWK: If you could change the name of a favorite character from a movie or television show (just because it bugs you or something), who would it be and what alternative name would you suggest?