I have a really annoying ‘feeling‘ that lurks about when it comes to choosing names.
I love names like Arthur, Magnus, Luna, Tom, Marina, and so many others. However when it comes to applying those names to a character, that’s an ENTIERLY different story.
The name I chose for my character has to sit right. In the exact right place. Not slightly to the left, or a vowel out, or doesn’t sound right when I say and it fit with what the character represents.
I’ve spent so long trawling through name books and reading about where names come from, what they mean, what their alternate meanings are in other languages, who the name has belonged to in the past in a historical context.
However, before I even consider the context of a name, I consider who I already know with a name I’m mulling over. It makes me realise how many people I dislike… it goes hand-in-hand with a culling of facebook friends… If there was a person who has treated me unkindly or done something that I didn’t agree with or simply have a bad impression of them, I won’t use that name.
I want no sort of colouring to that name before I get my hands on it because I want to make it my own.
There are exceptions though I find. Names like Tom, James, Hannah, and Beth who I know a number of, have so many different personalities and like and dislikes, I can still use because to me it can still be coloured in like a picture.
Let’s say that a name is in my head like a colour-in picture. Every person colours their own name in as they grow and mature. If then we look at in macro, the more unique a name, the easier it is to pick out. I know lots of Tom’s, and in my mind’s eye, I see a long list of different pictures with different colours. And it wouldn’t bother me so much to add my own Tom to that list. I’m not saying Tom isn’t a lovely name, it’s just quite common, and I have no expectation for what a Tom might be as I know so many and all are very different.
On the other hand, if I look at the name Barry, I might only know one Barry, and for the sake of the example, Barry hasn’t been a great person. He’s not nice and doesn’t have a great personality. Barry has now tainted that name for me, and so long as he remains in my memory, he will continue to do so. That’s how it works for me, and I know it’s the same for many other people whom I’ve discussed this with.
Finding a name is such a faff.
I have found a name for my protagonist of Souls:
Tod’s name works rather well. It’s not a name that’s too common, nor is it exquisite to seem like I’m trying too hard to find a unique name. Tod in English means fox, and in the Scottish dialect, it is a nickname for someone who is wily and sly.
Whilst Tod isn’t deceitful, he is a rather curious character that leads him to rather precarious situations, and as you would expect from an 11-year-old boy who lives in the seaside town of Oban on the West Coast of Scotland! This is where Souls is set.
Tod is the name of both the soul and counterpart human in the story, however, the story will be looking at Tod and the mischief and trouble he gets into as he explores the world of the spirits, filled with elves, pixies, sprites, trolls and some considerably dangerous and mysterious beings.
Where did all the spirits come from? There are three realms I’ll be telling you about soon, as well as the living gods of earth and how they play their part in the world of Souls!