By any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
William Shakespeare (1594)
This line from “Romeo and Juliet” says a lot about how we perceive things. Would a rose smell as sweet to us if we called it a turnip? Your mind automatically says no, but then think what if that was all you knew it by. Then turnip would represent something sweet and beautiful. (Not that a turnip isn't already to some people).
A name sometimes tells us a lot about a person or thing, while other times it tell us nothing.
An example, most who read this blog may think Mason Canyon is a male. The name sounds masculine so it must be, right? If you’ve looked at the profile, you know different. I’m a female.
Why the masculine name then? I really didn’t think about it being masculine when I decided on it. Mason comes from the love and enjoyment of watching "Perry Mason" when I was growing up. Until I was a senior in high school, I wanted to be a lawyer but got sidetracked by journalism and when that route instead. Now I collect old editions of Earle Stanley Gardner's "Perry Mason" books. Canyon was the name of my first horse, Canyon Son. I just like the way the names went together so I’ve used that pseudonym for years when writing book reviews.
I decided to use the pseudonym writing my book reviews because they were separate from the hard news I normally wrote. It was a different part of my writing, so thus a new name.
If you read the two previous posts here, you were introduced to the ladies of the Mystery Lover’s Kitchen and noted that they use various pseudonyms depending on what they are writing and for whom they are writing. I think most authors follow that tradition.
Another quick example is Nora Roberts. When she writes what I call romantic, light-hearted novels, she writes as Nora Roberts. But when she writes the hard crime thriller featuring Eve Dallas, she writes as J.D. Robb. Same person, two names, two different styles of writing.
Now I don’t use a pseudonym because I’m an author. I use it because this blog is where I review books, feature authors, and discuss reading and writing. This type writing is what Mason Canyon does. Mason’s domain.
You can’t always judge a person’s gender by their name. I know five people named Terry. Four spell their name Terry and one Terri. Of those five only one (Terry) is a male. There was a lady I knew all of my life by the name of Dean, when she passed away I found out her real name was Nadine, but no one ever called
her that. So names can be misleading sometimes.
Talking about names, how much emphasis should a writer put on a character’s name?
Think about Scarlett O’Hara. Would that character have grown to the image it is today if she had been called Betty Smith (not that there’s anything wrong with that name)?
What about Rhett Butler? Would women have swooned over the name Carl Jones (nothing wrong with that name either? Or is it that these characters were so strong that our images are based on that and really has nothing to do with their names?
I’m sure you can think of numerous names that bring visions of various books to mind instantly. But which came first - the name or the character? Is it the same with every book that author writes?
I’ve often wondered if an author selects names for their characters and then builds their description from that or do they have an image of how the character will look and a name comes to them as they write. In that case, I guess you’d say the character created their own name.
How hard or easy is it to create names for your characters? Do your characters hide behind names that don’t suit them or names that make them appear to be someone else? What is your method of naming your characters? Oh, a rose by any other name ......
*****Now for the winners of the recent book giveaways. The winners have already been notified, but this is to let everyone else know who has won which books.
LOVE IN 90 DAYS: Brenda R. of Madison Heights, MI; Heather S. of Georgetown, IL; Rebecca G. of Fayetteville, TN; Victoria S. of Houston, TX; and Judy P. of Midwest City, OK.
SEDUCED BY A ROGUE: Ann C. of Sioux Falls, SD; Renee G. of Valleyford, WV; Joyce S. of Conroe, TX; Susan P. of Pembroke Pines, FL; and Nancye D. of Louisville, KY.
A BLACK TIE AFFAIR: Karen K. of Monessen, PA; Carol K. of Schertz, TX; Jemi F of Marie, Ontario; Joy H. of Saint Peters, MO; and Carolyn Y. of Fort Collins, CO.
CORKED: Janel G. of Freeland, MI; Stacey B. of Goldsboro, NC; Eleanor H. of Greenville, PA; Emily L. of Forest Lake, MN; and Amy S. of Glencoe, MN.
FUGITIVE: LSU Reader is the winner, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address so we can send your book.