|Maleficent: love this name|
|Loki: another great name. |
OMG, these two characters need to meet!
When I'm reading a book, the name isn't important to me: what's important is if I connect with the character in some way. She (or he) can be called ZxlotiHlu and I won't mind too much (but it would be nice if they could have a nickname like Hlu that I can figure out how to pronounce). I might get a little cranky over common names (there seems to be lots of Abbys, Addies, Annas lately!) but even that is so very minor in the scheme of things when it comes to enjoying a book.
On the other hand, when I have to pick a name, it's very important to me, and I'm very picky. Whenever a new pet has been acquired, I don't name them right away: I take my time getting to know them, mulling over different names till one seems just right. (This didn't work so well with my kids. Baby born, hospital wants a name. Husband wants a name. Grandparents want a name. A middle name, too. You can imagine the frustration when we had twins and a total of four names had to be decided on in a rapid manner.)
Same goes for naming the characters in my stories. I might give them a temporary name in order to get started writing, but some small neuron elf in the back of my brain is chewing over a database of names I've heard over the years, until The Name clicks into place. I don't know exactly how my brain knows it's The Name. Sometimes The Name is simple; sometimes it's elegant; sometimes it's exotic (e.g. foreign, or made it up myself because I liked the sound). Sometimes it has a connection to something I love (I have a character named Lander, named after one of my favorite towns in Wyoming).
Whoa. Just got an idea for a new story. Characters in search of their names.
So back to the point.... my own creations/possessions: very picky about names. Otherwise, as long as there's a little diversity, no pickyness about character names at all. However, there have been a few fictional characters with names that made me smile before I even got to meet the character:
1. Temeraire from His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik. Elegant! Intellectual! Fits this unusual dragon so well.
2. Harry Crewe from The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. I discovered this book after I read the Harry Potter books, so I was already fond of the name Harry, and I just loved that it was a girl's name, in this case!
3. Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. It's different, unusual, a little exotic, but simple at the same time.
4. Bree and Hwin, from The Horse and His Boy, by CS Lewis. A perfect pairing of names for two very different characters.
5. Captain Navarre from LadyHawke (the movie, must get around to reading the book!). Elegant and attention-getting.
6. Cho from the Harry Potter series. Simple, but uncommon.
7. Marcus from The Voice in The Wind by Francine Rivers. This might be a case where I loved the character so much, I ended up falling in love with the name (another character name I loved so much I named one of my daughters after her).
8. Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty (the Disney movie). It's just such a perfect name for her. And proof that I can fall in love with a name even from a villain. (Loki is another one, though in lore he's really more of trickster than a villain).
9. Tabari from the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. She's a minor character, but I love the foreign tang of this Arabic/Persian name.
10. Nell, from the My Friend Flicka series by Mary O'Hara. This is an odd one, because I don't care for the name Nellie (Laura Ingalls being a large reason why, from the Little House series. Nellie was her nemesis). But shorten it to Nell, and it becomes a completely different name. I would have named one of my daughters this, except for the sheer terror everyone would start calling her Nellie.
What's your favorite character name?