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Monday, November 29, 2021

Character Names, Part Wherever We Left Off

Edits are underway for A Flame Among the Stars, and I've also seen a mockup of the cover, which is AMAZING. As soon as I'm allowed to share it, I will, because it's seriously gorgeous. I don't want to spoil anything, but: DRAGON. Also, as soon as I have a firm release date, I'll be sure to share that, too. (Reminder: I've been using my newsletter more than my blog lately, so make sure you're signed up for the latest news!)

More on the topic of exciting news! I believe I mentioned I'm rebooting the Geneva Greyson/Searching the Skies series, and now I can announce I've signed contracts for the first three books. (The first two were previously published, #3 is new.) I'm currently plugging away on Book 4, which is about two thirds of the way done.

That brings me to the topic of the day: character names! I've written posts about the various aspects of naming characters in the past, such as when to name characters and my thought processes for doing so. Book 4 has a lot of secondary characters in it, and those characters needed names. A lot of said characters are female, and finding enough distinctive names that still fit their personalities was a little bit of a challenge.

I'm not opposed to alliteration, or having more than one name in a book start with the same letter. As I wrote in one of those previous posts, for me, I sometimes think it's more important to vary the ending sounds of names. For women, this can get tricky because a lot—a LOT—of names end in A. Y might be the next most popular letter/sound, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

All right, so we've got our main character Geneva, the star of the show. Her mother, Dahlia, also has an -a name, but the other sounds plus the syllable count make them different enough for me. (In my accent/voice, anyway. If you want to stress every single sound and call her Dah-lee-ah instead of sort of smearing together the last vowels, I certainly won't stop you.) Out of all the other female characters, I only have one more who has an -a name—Freya—and she doesn't show up too often, anyway. And luckily, Geneva, Dahlia, and Freya are never all in the same scene together.

Book 3 introduces us to a new significant character, Adele. Here, I really wanted a big contrast to Geneva. Longtime readers will remember one of the [male] main characters of the series is named Ash. I did devote some thought to having two A- names, but ultimately decided Ash and Adele were different enough to not be distracting. Again, in my accent, the initial vowel sounds in Adele and Ash don't even sound the same. (Fun fact! Adele was very close to being named Katharine, but I thought Adele fit her better.)

Back to Book 4, there are three other female characters who needed names. Renae was one of those characters who kind of named herself. Hey, sometimes you just can't fight what was meant to be. From the very beginning of starting to plot this book, she was Renae in my mind. I guess if I was really concerned about the way repeated letters look, I could have gone with the more traditional spelling of Renée, but 1) I admit I didn't want to deal with the accent marks, and 2) I think the Renae spelling is cooler anyway, and this Renae is a badass.

Okay, two more to go. For one of them, I really wanted to set her apart from Geneva and the others for various reasons (she's not quite a villain or antagonist, but let's just say her morality scale differs from that of our heroine). I chose Lorelei, as I like the name well enough, I thought it fit the character, AND it had the added bonus of having a unique ending. Perfect! For the last of the minor characters (Lorelei's friend, who shows up on screen once and is mentioned one subsequent time), I originally went with Tamara, but thought it was too similar to some of the other names, so I did a find 'n' replace and changed it to Taryn. Yay for yet another ending letter/sound!

Phew, that's a lot of names. There are a couple new male characters of varying significance in Book 4 as well, and I did spend some time making sure they were different enough both from each other and existing characters. I don't know, though—for some reason, I've always found female names to be a lot more fun. And regardless, I'm more than happy to feature a lot of interesting women in this book!

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