Sunday, July 08, 2007
A Rose By Any Other...
Scout Finch--"To Kill A Mockingbird"
Harry Potter--"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
Billy Pilgrim-- "Slaughterhouse Five"
Frodo Baggins--"Lord of the Rings"
Scarlett O'Hara--"Gone With The Wind"
James Bond--"From Russia With Love"
What's in a name? How did these authors happen upon these combinations of vowels and consonants?
I know Ian Fleming named his famous spy after a British ornothologist when he cast about for inspiration for a name and saw James Bond's "Birds of the West Indies". Harry Potter just came to Rowling one day on a train; no great significance offered. Named for fellow infantryman and fellow prisoner-of-war, Edward Crone, Billy Pilgrim's name is a reflection of the theme of "Slaughterhouse Five" and an allusion to the character's journey through time and space.
I love looking at a chracter's name when reading works. Why Anita Blake? Where did Valentine Smith come from? Jonathan Harker? Dr. John Watson? John Clayton, Lord Greystoke?
For some reason, I usually have difficulty with names in my own writing. I usually insert the first thing that pops into my head. Gerald Case. Levon Druery. James Maloney.etc. No deep meaning, just the character speaking out and saying: "Hey, Stewart...here's who I am."
Just speaking out loud here. No special purpose. Earlier today I worked on a mystery/fantasy with a hardboiled dick named Kevin Falcon. Again, no real meaning behind the name...it just felt right. Maybe, like Charles has said, not everything has to have meaning. People are born. They are given names. Bang.
Of course if I had named Kevin something like Sylvester Arbuckle III, then we might have had to stop and wonder why.
Posted by Stewart Sternberg at 7:07 PM