It’s only a name, surely?

There’s no question that picking a name to give our offspring is a massive decision. But why? It’s only a name isn’t it? Why should we care what their title is? I mean, it’s not as if that decision made there in the hospital delivery suite will affect how the rest of their lives will turn out, is it?

Is it?

I think it is. Or at least, it is in part.

I think somebody’s name can have implications far beyond what they are called.

Picture 2Names are important. They can label us, pigeonhole us, stereotype us, empower us and haunt us. If names really weren’t important, I’d have loved to call our girls something crazy and eccentric like ‘Boudicca’, ‘Calamity Jane’ or ‘Princess Powderkeg’. But we didn’t. Naturally, we gave them both lovely names, but not anything so extreme they’d spend their lives’ accounting for our moment of indulgence.

And so what I want to talk about here (and it is relevant, I promise) is how names can affect our perception of a character – and not only in fiction.

For me there are two ways a name can be linked to character traits: by association or by intention. Continue reading

An unloveable hero? Oops…

Now that the feedback for my first draft is starting to trickle in, I am faced with the stark reality that my hero is a little hard to get attached to. Clang.

Picture 1I guess if there’s one aspect that can bring a story crashing down in flames, it’s lack of love for the protagonist. Imagine if we couldn’t care less whether Harry Potter became a wizard or a plumber? How would Star Wars work out if Luke was a complete git? And I’m not even going to think about George.W. Bush instead of Jed Bartlett in the West Wing.

Continue reading