Free Lanes 101: Part 3, Names and other Descriptive Stuff

Names and other Descriptive Stuff

Naming characters. Honestly, it’s kind of hard. Especially when your friend insists that one name in particular is not at all suitable for a female character. Probably because it happens to be his name. Several of my male friends have female sounding names. I’m sure it’s because their mothers resented them pre-birth. On the other hand those girls I know who have masculine or ambiguous  names their parents probably did them a favour. It’s much harder to discriminate against a women’s CV if you don’t know it’s a woman. Oh, shush, you know it happens.

I tried to keep most of my names simple. Quill, Violet, Nel, Heathen, Scarlett. Jack. You can’t get much more simple than Jack. Just Jack. And some of those names are meant to sound kinda cool, vaguely mysterious and intrinsically bad ass. Like Heathen and Scarlett. Jack implies a rather simpleness whereas Loveland Quill…well, let’s be honest. That’s just fun, in an ironic, mocking kind of way. It’s hard to be all tough and mean when everyone can fall back on your embarrassing first name. You know the type. I spent a lot of time reading people like Steven Erikson and Glen Cook. If you haven’t read them and you like fantasy, particularly epic fantasy, I highly recommend the Malazan Book of the Fallen and the Black Company series respectively. But between that and spending two years in a University Hall of Residence where nobody went by their actual name but by some ill-acquired nickname moniker, real names come off kinda boring. And between sports, the military, any kind of club setting, they’re actually pretty common.

Those short, sharp and punchy names are more fun. Those  descriptive tags are easier to remember. Korrigan Jack may not make a lot of sense but it stands out (at least it better) and Nel is just that one-syllable breakdown that couldn’t get any easier. Unless she’s in trouble and anyone who’s had parents knows they’re in trouble when someone breaks out the ‘Chanel Dominca Vaughn’ triple barrelled appellation.

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