Friday, August 19, 2011

Naming characters in your story

There was a discussion on recently regarding how we name the characters in our stories. Some writers replied that they put a lot of effort into them, while others preferred "plain" names with no real significance. Like the former, I spent a fair amount of time coming up with names for the major characters in my scifi novel, Cyberdrome. This was especially true for the hero, Alek Grey:

Alek is short for Alexander which means "Defender of Man" (appropriate for a person who is quite literally risking his life to save humanity.) Grey comes from Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" Why? Central to my story is the possibility of experiencing many years within the space of a few hours (connected to a virtual reality environment) which ties into the theme of Dorian Gray (he sells his soul to ensure that his portrait will age rather than himself).

Also, the main "love interest" is named Maya, which "in Indian religions is usually quoted as "illusion", centered on the fact that we do not experience the environment itself but rather a projection of it, created by us" (from wiki). This directly ties in with the theme of the many virtual worlds inside Cyberdrome which are indistinguishable from true reality.

Less "deep and meaningful" are the many side characters that are named after dead pets. ;)