What's in a Name?

November 18, 2017

Good evening readers.

Why I am using your name.

Lately, I’ve been thinking, why do names in my novels matter? Where do they pop up from? Is there some part of my brain where, if there was such a part, comes up with an interesting name to use as a fictional character? 
Nine times out of ten, I hate clichés by the way, I use people I know well, or a colleague who pleads with me to use their special name in my next novel. So, how do I single out these names? There are dedicated websites where you can mix and match. Okay, this is good but not author specific for my needs. But, there is a catch in all this blundering around in the name game. Will they be easy to pronounce? I ask you, there are writers who take pride in the fact their character’s name is unreadable and if you are like me, you skip over the name, because you can’t pronounce it.
For example: In the new Contract series – Contract Blanc, I have taken the opportunity to use a mix of Russian and English names. Well, I must, because that’s where my team has landed, literally and if I used – John Smith, you would wonder why the Russian Spetsnaz Forces recruited only Englishmen with common names. 
For readers who are interested here are my mixed-up names for the characters in Contract Blanc.
Tomtov Pavlov Karloff. This one is a winner. Not only is he handsome, (I like rugged men myself) his description matches him perfectly. -Six foot five inches. Tall. Broad shouldered. Powerfully built. Large hands. Rounded Prussian nose and an aristocratic air about him. Crystal blue eyes and the obligatory blond hair.
What does he do? I hear you ask and what is his purpose in the script?
Ah, but then, Tommy is a mixture of a smart and astute soldier. Okay, he’s having it on with Jessika Spada one of the main characters. Or he thinks he is. Any mother would love him.
Another character who represents names we can barely pronounce is -Drag ma Maslar Popovelouc. Say that three times after a few straight whiskeys. I wanted a strong name to meet my expectations of a criminal for hire. His credentials tell us a little of what we would expect. Five feet nine inches. Short, stocky large tattoos on the left side of his torso. Depicting an Angel, wings curved around his back and over the right shoulder. 
Two opposite ideas crept in here. This character is not to be met on a dark night. He admits to enjoying Ancient religious rites, and self-flagellation. There is a warrant for his arrest. For Crimes against humanity. 
Sometimes my thinking could be spent doing worthwhile things, like walking my Bengal Cat.
Back to where I started. Would I use your name? Of course, I will. Big long names or short stocky ones. Scrivener is my best friend and produces a Name Generator where I spend hours trolling through combinations to come up with THE ONE.
An excerpt from the script – Contract Blanc 
Bear Island, 1957 August 23rd, 1030 hrs
‘The Soviet cargo vessel, Grosgesnovky pitched from side to side. Waves smashed against her prow. There was no escaping the fact she was doomed. Chief Bosun Vladimir Techovic stumbled to the deck. He was drunk. Finished off the last of the cheap vodka he and Capitan Taros Yakutsk had consumed before supper. The outline of Bear Island was on their port bow. Yakutsk knew apart from a few sandy beaches; the coastline was steep and hazardous. Unreachable high cliffs and in parts remarkable rock pillars. If by a miracle the Grosgesnovky could reach one of the anchorages or even a bay inlet, he was sure a secure landing point existed, otherwise his gut feeling told him the small harbour at Herwighamna on the north coast, would be their only alternative. The charts specified none of these were safe when the weather conditions turned sour, and mooring a decent sized trawler on Bear Island was out of the question.’

 

 

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