More names

An excellent question has arrived in my inbox, as it were, and it comes from a self-confessed frustrated aspiring author.

It's this - how do I name my characters? I've said something on this before, but am happy to embark on another ramble, as ever.

For what a fine question it, and as with so many such, I hadn't really thought about it.  So, the enquiry has prompted a little searching of the curious maze of oddities which is my mind.

The answer is, a variety of ways.  Some names come to me instantly.  Without giving too much away, the idea behind Dan was that he'd be a generally ordinary chap who discovered a hidden talent for detective work.  Hence a very average name. 

Adam was supposed to be a little harder, but still a fairly average chap - hence what I thought to be an kind of ordinary name, but with a suggestion of being a bit tougher, having a potential edge.

Some characters give me endless trials with their names - it's quite common for me to have to go through the phone book, page by boring page, until I chance upon one which feels right for the person.

Other times, I'll meet someone, either through work, or just in day to day life and think - that name I have to use somewhere, it's great! Pinecoffin was one, Silifant - the old police doctor in the tvdetective series - was another. His name came from a firm of local undertakers, and was just too tempting to resist.

The trouble with all this of course, as so often, is that it's entirely subjective.  What a name may suggest to me, can be very different to someone else.  However! Such is the way of the world, and a humble author can only do his best.

On a related theme, I read an interesting article a few months ago, which said - claimed is perhaps a better word! - that people's names can influence their choice of career. For example, someone called Law was more likely to go into the legal profession, or a person called Gold might go into finance.  It sounded a tad supicious to me, but I might make some use of it in a future book.  I like little quirks like that, as you may have noticed!

Finally for this post, as we slip through the fading days of 2010, a thought for next year.  I've been lucky enough to be invited to some excellent events, including crime and literary festivals and even some teaching of this writing lark.  I'll keep you up to date with them via the News and Events page -

In the meantime - good luck surviving the whirl that can be the run up to the festive season!