Call me obsessive, but I’m a little particular when it comes to naming my characters.
They appear in my mind full of the joys of springtime, but my characters refuse to tell me what they’re called! It doesn’t matter how many times I ask either – I guess they’re like babies, awaiting instruction of their titles. I’m the crazy lady who walks around asking strange cats “and what’s your name then?” only to be met with blinking eyes, whilst asking me “you’re kidding me right?”.
It’s the same with these guys, you know, the one’s in my head. They give me nothing. No clue. Zip. Nada. I hate them sometimes.
This is, of course, my issue, but a name has to be just right. It has to suit the character. Their face, the clothes, the timeline, the plot, the class system, the…. You get it right?
So far this week, I’ve paced the house, ran around in the garden, skim read books, checked baby naming websites, I even looked at some name generators; which are great for hours of endless entertainment and procrastinating beyond a joke. This is ultimately one of my favourites, mainly because it’s all steampunk *raises monocled eyebrow!
Check them out at Oobleck.
So, I walk the earth in order to find the perfect name.
Actually, I walk graveyards in search for the perfect name. This has always worked for me in the past. I take a surname that I really like for the character I’m working on, and then find a christian name that seems to fit too.
(Be respectful though, if you try this, only take names from old graves and never the full name.)
Sometimes, my characters shout No! or Yay! I either go on until I have one they’re happy with, or, Hazar, I have the perfect name.
And then my obsession really kicks in.
Because I have an interest in all things mystical and have studied numerology, the Ogham tree alphabet and Pagan symbolism, I then take the name and dissect it.
I turn it into something more than just a name.
What I have found interesting over the years, is that this little bit of procrastination does actually impact on my characters plot and story, and even their reactions to the story progression. It always makes me shout Aha!
And who doesn’t love a bit of Aha shouting when they write?
So, heres one of my latest characters. She showed up as a wise old woman, the midwife and herbalist who lives and works in the village where the civil war begins.
She is responsible for it.
Because she is responsible, I wanted to pursue her character a little further, go a bit deeper. I didn’t want to simply say “and this woman started the war…”
Each letter of a name has a number assigned to it from 1-9 (see table)
Write out the name in number form, and (fadically) add up all the numbers, until reduced to a single digit.
So, my characters names are as follows:
- Forsythe (her family name) = 6+6+9+1+7+2+8+5 = 44 (4+4)=8
- Gold Leaf = 7+6+3+4 + 3+5+1+6= 35 (3+5) + 8
- Old Leaf = The above minus the total of 7 which is the numerical value of G. Thus 35 becomes 28 (2+8) = 10 (1+0) =1
This particular characters family name is from the plant, Forsythia which grows wild around their house. This is where she was born.
When she was a child, she was beautiful, with golden hair and a glowing complexion (like the plant).
Forsythe is a number 8. Drawn on it’s side, 8 is the symbol for infinity, it is like the circle; never ending.
As an 8, the earthly, materialistic realm is represented as the lower circle with the mystical and spiritual world as the upper circle. An eight is power. It is connected to law, judgement and religion. The number eight is perfection. And, Gold Leaf with her perfect name is the embodiment of perfection. Her place within the village community is special. She learns her trade as herbalist, midwife, and carer. She is Hedgewitch, and all is well.
Over time the glow of youth deserts her. Yet, she remains the same helpful wise woman. That is until, the children of the village change her name. So simple, the removal of the letter G. She becomes Old Leaf. She becomes the number 1.
The number one is representative of beginnings. The start of a journey (or indeed a book). It has initiative, it has dynamic energy. But it is also the number of suffering.
She is the perfect character for beginning a civil war. And, it is with the muttering of 12 words from her, that my story is hinged upon. Without her, this wise old lady, the civil war might not have started. The battle against magics may not have raged. My book may never have been born.
If you are part of the A-Z blogging challenge, you can read about the beginning when we get to the letter C… Which by the way is the number 3; which means drama!
If you want to know a little more on numerology follow this link at cafe astrology
Do you have obsessions with any part of your writing – other than writing, itself, being an obsession?