Monday, October 12

Obsession

Posted by Shelly Holder

I'm obsessed with names.

Sometimes, people will write or use "obsessed" in a way that means fixated on, but not necessarily in a detrimental manner.

I am obsessed with names.

So when it comes to creating character names... I'm a tad beyond obsessive. (My poor CritPartner! She has to put up with my lengthy rants on the subject)

So when Jocelynn Drake was a Dame for the Day over at Deadline Dames, my head was nodding so emphatically that a headache was a serious risk factor.

I don't know where the whole thing came from. Maybe a slightly complicated relationship with my own name? (I hated it growing up, and had thought I would only publish under a nom-de-plume, and creating several pseudonyms for each genre; now I like my name and I'll only publish under Shelly Holder, no matter genre or style)

But I have a superstitious belief that names really do have power, and that the naming of a child is actually really important. I have a superstitious belief that you have to live up to your name, and that at some point in your life, you'll either conquer or be conquered by the power of your name. Yes, it sounds wacky; yes, I read too many fantansy books as a young child; however, yes, I will probably continue with this belief and this obsession for the rest of my life. And it's ok. I think in the end it makes me a stronger writer.

When I create a character, I usually come to the drafting table with a name and nothing more. The name is the starting point, and it is a fixed point that all aspects of personality radiate out from. Physical description, attitude, dress, patterns of speech- all of these stem from the character's name.

And when I choose a name, the right name, I hear that internal click that is universal agreement with my decision.

So yeah, I'm obsessed with names.

But I'm proud of it.

Right Now:
What I'm listening to: "Dead and Gone" by T.I. and Justin Timberlake
What I want most: food!