by Shelt Garner
I’m obsessed with picking just the right name for the characters in this four novel thriller series I’m working on. At the moment, I’m quite pleased with what I’ve managed to come up with. I love some of the names I’ve come up with, I’m extremely paranoid that someone will steal a march on me and use similar names to what I have, forcing me to find new names.
This is a very real possibility, but at the same time, as I keep saying to myself, make decisions on what you do know, not on what you don’t know.
Some of the better names I’ve seen in fiction include Don Draper, Shiv Roy and, of course, Lisbeth Salander.
The name “Don Draper” is so very, very good because it tells you exactly what to expect from the character. “Don” evokes Don Juan while “Draper” evokes “drape her.” What more can you ask for in a name?
I don’t know anything about her character or the show she’s featured on “Succession,” but I love, love, love the name “Shiv Roy.” That’s great name. It’s loaded in such a way that you can play with the audience’s expectations a great deal. Nearly anything the character does, or doesn’t do, will be loaded because of her name.
Meanwhile, “Lisbeth Salander” is so great because “Salander” is very similar to “salamander.” You get the sense that this is a small person who is nearly impossible to kill, just like the animal her name suggests.
Anyway. The thing about character names is while one can come to love them, they’re also fairly easily to replace with some thought. So, if the worst happens, I can always go back to the drawing board and think up new names for whichever characters I feel I’ve been forced to rename.