The good news this week is that I have still been working on József and Anna’s story in “An Anguished Heart”. I may not have actually added any words to the manuscript in the last week, but I have been busy researching, it’s not procrastination this time, I swear!
Sometimes when a new character comes up in the story and I don’t yet have a name for them, I refer to them as **(character description)** in the manuscript so when I go back through, it’s obvious that I need to place a name in there, for example ***(soldier name and rank)** is one that has popped up a couple of times. This is usually done when I’m on a roll and don’t want to stop writing to go search for appropriate names for the character.
This is fine when a character first appears or is just mentioned one or two times, however it does become a bit of a problem with recurring characters. Without a name, it becomes increasingly difficult to relate to that character, no matter how minor they might be, but naming a character is often harder than naming your own children!
This is where I am now, Anna’s lady’s maid has been present in quite a number of chapters now and will be there for quite a few more, yet I’m still referring to her as **(maid’s name)**. It was fine in the beginning when she was first mentioned, but now she is about to play a more prevalent role in moving the story along, therefore she most definitely needs a name.
Some might feel that the name doesn’t matter that much, as long as it fits with the story, I don’t feel the same way. When naming a character I need to feel a connection with the name, not only does it need to be fitting for the time period, culture etc. of the story, but I also need to feel that it is the right name for the character as in my mind I already know them. Ever met someone and think that their name doesn’t really suit them? I sometimes feel that about my own name but the thing is, our parents usually chose our names before we were born, before they really knew us. They chose something they liked, something they thought would suit the child they imagined. I already know my characters and that’s why it is often harder to name a character than it is to name your own child.
Even though I claim to ‘know’ my characters, their identity is not fully formed until I give them a name, so in taking that into consideration, I also need to consider where the character will go in the story, how they will develop. If they are an outwardly strong character or have an inner strength that they don’t even know they possess, their name too needs to reflect this. Of course the names are chosen based on my own perceptions of strength etc. but at the end of the day, I need to feel the name fits in order for the character to progress. Some of you might remember a previous manuscript I was working on (which will actually be a later book in the same series as ‘An Anguished Heart’), where the main characters were originally called Thomas and Maggie. I couldn’t really connect with the character of Maggie and I realised it was because her name wasn’t right, this is when Maggie became Rose.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”
– ‘Juliet’ in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”
Now I need a name, not just any name though. It has to be a traditional Austrian name in use in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Of course it must be a female name, but one that conveys youth and femininity but also a hidden strength. Not a name like Helga or Hilde, to me those names bring forth images of shield maidens, showing an outward strength not a deeply hidden one.
The right name is out there, but I haven’t found it yet and I can’t go on calling her **(maid’s name)**. For some reason, I have a feeling her name starts with ‘A’ or ‘E’, so I guess that will be my starting point.
Wish me luck!
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