Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Name Game

One of the surprising little extra perks to this new job of mine is a constant stream of fresh names. New names, odd names, common names, crazy names. There are hundreds, thousands and I come across them everyday. I collect them, in fact. Like little bits of gold sparkling in the sandy creek bed, I sift these future characters from the detritus and plant them safely in my word document of names, where hopefully, one day, I will reach in and pluck them forth, a vessel, ready to be filled with a new character.

Fode Bangoura

I imagine its pronounced like: Fo-day Ban-GORE-a

I think he’s a warrior of some indigenous grassland tribe on some strange fantasy world. I see he and his brothers racing through the seas of tall waving grass, their dark skin slick with sweat, bone spears clasped in their hands, and their long dreads rattling with the clay beads woven there, but Fode… Fode looks toward the horizon, hungry to learn of whatever lies beyond.

I love lists of names. When a good one jumps out at you, suddenly its like you can see whole worlds through this person’s eyes. Sometimes, looking at a name, the possibilities seem endless and yet so easily clear.

Yash Scarlett

I think Yash is a second story thief in some dirty and crowded, dystopian steam-punk world. I bet she wears a long trailing scarf knotted over her nose and mouth, running the rooftops, brash and arrogant and laughing as she dances mere steps ahead of the city’s clockwork thief-catchers, but will her arrogance be her undoing?

Normally I don’t approach stories character first, usually the characters kind of form up out of the bubbling, swampy murk that I’m building the tale above on an as needed basis. Sometimes they show up out of nowhere, half formed and intended for a specific purpose, so I have to walk them around a bit before they’re completely whole.

Noemy Elieth Sandoval

What an insanely interesting name. Noemy. I wonder where that comes from… Who is this person? She’s a girl, I think. I see hunched shoulders, little round glasses and darting eyes. I smell caution and a life time of prayed for invisibility, but there’s talent there… more than she knows. I like this name, it’s a good reluctant hero name.

Maybe its something within the name, the sound of it, that determines their personality for me, an accidentally descriptive feature. That, of course, just makes me wonder. Did that same feature determine the personality of the true owner in the same way?

Wilda Hatchett

Wilda is a tough old broad. She’s severe with big hands and a wide face. She’s a beer drinker. She likes flannel and she certainly, absolutely is not interested in hearing our crap. But more so, she’s loyal, loyal to the end. If she makes a promise, she sticks with it. She’s a care-taker, a sentry and a keeper-of-secrets. She will hold the line to the end and woe to any who try to pass her.

At this point, my list is long and still growing, but I can’t help it. I see a list of names and I automatically start harvesting. I love to look at them and imagine the infinite possibilities.

1 comment:

zoey said...

love the story lines for the names you come across. i've heard noemy once before: noemy malone - SHOWGIRLS!