Choosing the name for my main character wasn’t easy. I was going to have to live with it for a very long time, so getting it right was very important to me.
Choosing the name for my main character wasn’t easy – I felt a lot of pressure to get it right. After all, I was going to have to live with it for a very long time, so getting it right was very important to me. I remember going through all the names I liked and finding that none of them were suitable. I eventually turned to a number of on-line baby name sites, but eventually gave this up as a bad job. I was stuck, except for one name that had stayed with me from the start, but it was a name that I was afraid to use – Bronte.
It sounded right, it felt and fit right and it wasn’t a common name, therefore it ticked all the right boxes for me, but it had relevance to where I came from and that made me unsure at first. I have to admit that perhaps using the name Bronte was rather indulgent, but I do actually like the name regardless of its connection. I was always attracted to the name, because it was unusual without being ridiculous, like apple, or clover, for instance. There was just one thing and that was the Bronte sisters.
I was born and still live on the doorstep of the Bronte sisters, who are possibly some of the most influential writers of our time, and I can’t deny that they have had a great impact on me. I live among the rugged landscapes that influenced their work and were featured in Wuthering Heights. It felt almost wrong to use Bronte as my character’s name, but I couldn’t find an alternative that sat right. There was also a mischievous element that wondered if anyone would make the connection, anyway.
Names for your characters are difficult to choose at the best of times, but especially if you’re not drawn to anything in particular. Once you’ve picked a name, you have to live with it for the life of the story and beyond, and you will always be associated with it from the day you publish.
It’s tempting to pick something that is modern and popular, but the trouble with that is they go out of date, or become over used, leading them to have the opposite effect and become unpopular. This could ultimately end in disaster, if your audience read a few pages and reject your book based on the names that you had chosen. So, I went with Bronte and took a leap of faith.
Riley, Bronte’s best friend, was easier. I received a piece of post that belonged to my neighbour. Although I used a different spelling, his name was inspired from their surname. It felt at the time, like I was meant to receive that item of mail by mistake, as another name dropped into place. Perhaps fate had decided to show me a little kindness for a change and give me a helping hand, in making the choice easier. The name was strong I had heard of it, and it was popular enough to be known without being over used and most importantly, it reflected the strength of my character’s personality.
I really struggled to get a name down for another of my main characters. I was completely lacking in inspiration at the time I introduced him into the story line. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, nothing felt right, so I left it and called him Brian. I knew that Brian would irritate me enough to change it at some point. I also knew that the more I focused on it, the worse the search would become, so Brian it was, all the way through my first three books, until one day, I came across the name Jenson. It was like something slotting into place, it fit completely and gave me great joy in changing my manuscripts. I have to say that I don’t have anything against the name Brian. I have many friends called that, but it just isn’t a name I would associate with the image I was trying to portray for my character.
I don’t regret my decision. I have a rule that I follow throughout, and that is that if it doesn’t feel right when I’m writing it, then it’s not going to feel right further down the line either and this is more than likely going to convey to my readers. So a little bravery up front, is going to go a long way later on, in the life of the story. I want to draw my readership in, not have them closing my book through not being able to gel with a name.
I suppose the last name I should talk about is Bayer. Bayer is Bronte’s other world counterpart. She comes from a different world altogether, and gives my readers their first taste of the fantasy element to my story. As Bayer doesn’t belong to this planet, I had to create something totally new. I couldn’t call her Brian either. So this was my first taste at inventing a fantasy name and something that had never, to my knowledge, been invented before. I have to admit that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
Bayer was a name I played around with for a while. I liked Jayer, which was already a name and I wanted to keep the momentum of this name going, so I started playing around with it, changing the letters, until I eventually ended up with Bayer, which sounded just right. I researched each version I created until I found that Bayer wasn’t being used as a name or a word at the time I created it and so Bayer was born.
Serina Hartwell – Author of The Hidden Saga
Thank you for taking the time out to read my blog. Don’t forget to follow me and tell a friend. Why not leave me your thoughts or a good review? I have a new website available at – http://www.serinahartwell.com