“The pressure…of a name…”

(Anybody who knows where that quote comes from wins cool points from me.)

I receive an email newsletter from Writer’s Digest, and it always includes some cool writing tips, info and encouragement. A recent post by Brian Klems (who I also follow on Twitter) was about the importance of character names.

Tips in the post include checking root meanings, getting the era right and saying the names out loud.

My two main characters are Shannon Greer and Mark Asher. To the Internet! *points finger in air*

Greer — “The son of Gregor (watchful).”

Shannon — “Little wise owl.”

Asher — “The descendant of Asher (spear, army).”

Mark — “Warlike.”

You guys. These names are totally perfect, and I didn’t even look up the meanings before I chose them! Shannon and her family think themselves the more responsible and common sense-ical (using it and don’t care) of the two families, and part of their mission is to keep tabs on the Ashers. Mark and his family, on the other hand, come across as more aggressive, irresponsible and dangerous. They’re going to do what they want, consequences be damned.

As far as era goes, I think Mark is a common name nowadays. I was a little worried about Shannon, though. I had a friend named Shannon when I was a kid, but I’m also 13 years older than my book’s characters. (Ugh.) Is the name totally outdated?

Well, it’s not topping the popular names list any time soon, but as it turns out “classic” names are making a comeback. Alice and Cora, for example, are climbing the ladder. So I’m going to stick with Shannon. 🙂

I will say I purposely made it so that both of their names had a “sh” sound in them. My story isn’t one with a stupid love triangle, nor is Shannon at any disadvantage to Mark in any way. Damsels in distress, shmamsels in shmistress, I say! They are equals in every way: intelligence, wealth, athleticism, confidence, passion, drive. I wanted their names to have balance as well.

So I’m pretty excited here. This character name info makes me feel like I’m on the right track. 🙂

Oh, and by the way: “… Cinder-f**king-rella!”

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3 thoughts on ““The pressure…of a name…”

  1. Do you have a reliable source for checking name meanings? I’ve had really bad luck with using baby name sites. If I look up a name on different sites, I often get different meanings.

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