Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Character of Names: Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Today Hannah Schwartz, author of Truly, Madly Deadly, discusses how she chose her character's names for her debut YA novel!

It’s never easy naming a character – especially your main character! 

I keep a running list of names that I like, and sometimes, a character pops into my head, name and all. Those are the easy days!  But when it came to writing Truly, Madly, Deadly, that didn't happen at all. 

I knew I wanted a name that had some strength to it, and I knew this sounds weird, but even something that had a little heft. My heroine, Sawyer Dodd is a little bit of a tomboy who goes from regular(ish) high school junior to fighting for her life against an “admirer” who insists on doing her deadly favors. 

As I was writing, I went through the slew of names that I liked – I generally start by sifting through baby naming books – but nothing seemed to really fit this character. I didn’t want an average name or anything that sounded too trendy, and I needed something that sounded a little tough. (This poor girl really goes through the wringer!) 

I tried out a whole bunch of different names early on in the book, and though they all worked, they just didn’t seem to grab me. And if my character’s name doesn’t grab me, how I can expect it to grab my readers?

I was watching a show ages ago and reading the credits (another way authors like to get their names!). One of the actors -- one half of a set of twins -- was named Sawyer. As a huge Tom Sawyer fan, I immediately fell in love with the name -- just, not for a boy. 

I liked the strong, kind of tomboyish ring it had for a girl -- Sawyer sounded like a strong, smart girl. I just like the way Sawyer rolls off the tongue – and the impression that it leaves: a little tough, but smart; prone to getting into trouble but able to find her way out. When Sawyer Dodd comes faces to face with her admirer, she needs all her smarts to find her way out and boy, she’d better be tough! 

She thought it was a coincidence.

She was wrong.

Truly, Madly, Deadly 
July 2013

1 comment:

Bookworm1858 said...

Thanks for taking us behind the naming process-I think Sawyer is a great name for the kind of character you described and I can't wait to meet her!