Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Character of Names with A.G. Howard

Have you read SPLINTERED and are looking for the story behind the title? Or are you in need of just one more good reason to pick up this debut ASAP? Then you're in luck, because today A.G. Howard graces us with the methods to her mad-naming skillz. With a Z.

Often, when I start a story, my names don’t always have a meaning. I just know my characters—who they are, the role they’ll play, even a head shot of what they look like—and I hop onto Internet databases and skim through baby names. 

The right ones will simply jump out at me. Hard to explain, but my gut just knows what name is right. 

But, in SPLINTERED, there were a few names that actually had meaning and served a purpose. A couple belong to less traditional characters without whom there would be no book to begin with.

First, the name of the book itself. Most writers know that once they sell their book, they might have to forfeit their original title for one that the publisher deems more fitting or hook-ish. That didn’t happen with SPLINTERED, but it might have if I’d gone with some of my original ideas:

Through the Splintered Glass

 All Things Dark and Dismal

 Malice in Wonderland

Upon googling the titles to make sure they’d never been used, I realized the third one was out of the question. It was a movie with a small but faithful following.   Out of the two remaining titles, the first one kept calling to me. 

After brainstorming with my crit partners, I settled on shortening that one to simply “SPLINTERED” for the following reasons:

It’s Hook-ish.

Alyssa (my MC) thinks she's going crazy like all of the women in her family in the beginning. She refers to it as her sanity being splintered. 

The looking glass she steps through is cracked and splintered. 

The Wonderland "fairytale" that she finds waiting for her is a splintered and warped version of the Lewis Carroll tale.

SPLINTERED was the natural choice, and to my relief, my publishers thought so, too. :)

Next, the name of the town in which the story is set (before Wonderland makes an appearance, that is). 

The real Alice Liddell’s middle name was Pleasance. So for a spin on that, I decided to set the story in the made up town of Pleasance, Texas (because I’m a TX girl). So, the kids attend Pleasance High School. 

Alyssa’s name is of course a variation of Alice, as is her mother Alison’s, and her grandmother, Alicia’s. 

Jebediah "Jeb" Holt, Alyssa’s secret crush / best friend, came about his name the way most of my character’s do. It just seemed to fit him. The name felt strong, but at the same time approachable and trustworthy. The characteristics any best pal or boyfriend should have.

And last, but certainly not least, Morpheus, the enigmatic bad boy from Wonderland, was chosen because in Greek mythology, Morpheus is the god of dreams with the ability to take any human form and appear in other people’s dreams. This is fitting for my Morpheus since he shares that magic. And there’s one other contributing factor to why I chose this name, but you’ll have to read the book to discover it. ;)


The Cover Contessa said...

I love this! Thanks for sharing Anita!!! ~Brooke

Sel said...

Love the name, Jeb! Splintered finally makes sense now :) I actually didn't know that this story had something to do with Alice in Wonderland, now I know ;)

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