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Names and naming

I am fascinated by names. It's one of my favorite things about writing-- when you create a character, you get to choose their name. I get a real charge when I write a larp or a play and then everybody involved goes around referring to each other by the names I chose. I have to do it very early in the process, or else I don't feel I get a good handle on who the characters are. Picking the exact right one, with the right sound and the right implications, is very important to my process of characterization.

In Adonis, there's a name scheme going on that's even more complicated than what I usually do. Adonis is not the name of any character in the story; rather, it's kind of a title, perhaps most analagous to a stage name, for one of my two leads. I chose it for two reasons, as I mentioned yesterday-- it's a cultural touchstone for a beautiful young man, and because I always felt what happened to him in "Venus and Adonis" was a depiction of rape.

I named my female lead Diana first. I chose it because of the obvious connotations, the Roman name of the goddess of the hunt, alluding to her martial nature. Also I like the sound of it; the sound of names is often even more important to me than the meaning, as people will have to say them over and over.

My male lead-- the titular "Adonis" --I knew needed a Celtic name because of the background I gave him, so I looked up some options online. There are a number of Celtic names I have a fondness for and briefly considered; Taran was a frontrunner, or possibly Galen, until in my searching I came upon Aidan. Not only was its meaning referring to a sun personification a nice counterpart to the moon connections of Diana, the spellings are anagrams of each other. That moon-sun dichotomy also tied in nicely to the secondary epithets Aidan is assigned, "Apollo" and "golden god" in reference to his beauty and his blond hair.

A lot of this just worked out this way, but I did do even more work than usual to keep the themes unified in the naming.

I wrote about how I chose the names in the Mrs. Hawking stories here.

Whenever I meet someone who chose their own name, I am always curious how they came to it. Do they just like the sound of it? Is the meaning of the name significant? Or do they have some emotional attachment to it that is personal to them? I guess I should ask parents how they chose their children's names too for that reason. 

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
blendedchaitea
Jul. 22nd, 2014 03:28 pm (UTC)
Would you be interested in baby name stories? I don't know if you know this already, but I got my middle name (Elizabeth) because my parents wanted to name me after by great-grandmother called Beth. Then they found out she went by Beth because her real name was Bessie. They went with "Elizabeth" instead.
breakinglight11
Jul. 23rd, 2014 05:33 pm (UTC)
Very interesting, thank you for sharing!
qnmark
Jul. 22nd, 2014 09:14 pm (UTC)
It's interesting you have to name LARP characters early. In Bad Apples and Planetfall, we did it fairly late, so in the internal documents, before we named characters, we referred to PCs by internal codes. I think it's a matter of what happens when you write by committee - in Part of Her Design I chose names early, but in Bad Apples and Planetfall, we had to discuss names.
offside7
Jul. 22nd, 2014 11:19 pm (UTC)
Diana and Aidan are also anagrams for one other name. ;)
breakinglight11
Jul. 23rd, 2014 05:33 pm (UTC)
Heeeeeeeeeeey. :-)
jducoeur
Jul. 24th, 2014 06:19 pm (UTC)
You might enjoy asking around the SCA on this topic -- heaven knows, it's one of the largest pools of people I know who choose their own names, usually as adults. (Mostly -- my name was actually given to me by a friend...)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:



MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3


at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM

and

Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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