It's that time again!!! Unwritten and some 1000 other blogs participated last year, and this year looks to be even bigger! Just like last year, I've opened up the blog to host 26 fabulous writers, with each day of the challenge representing the letters of the alphabet from A-Z. I've asked each writer to focus on something that is personal to them, so we can learn more about each other.
Please check out some of the other blogs in the challenge here:
N is for...Names
by John Steiner
What is in a name? For literature it turns out quite a lot. Percival means “pierce the valley,” which is a metaphor on the role Percival had in Arthurian stories. Luke Skywalker is rather self-evident. Gandalf is Norse for “wand elf.” Why Robin Hood instead of, say… Helmet?
At the start of the story Kendrick doesn’t particularly feel heroic, though he does exhibit a knightly ethic that lands him in trouble when protecting a woman he doesn’t know from the abuses of another man. The combination of his first and last names suggests that the story will forge Kendrick into the warrior and champion he hadn’t seen in himself. Most of the names in Brute have meanings drawn from numerous etymologies and languages across Europe and a few other parts of the world. When their meanings are known the reader gains insight into the core of a particular character.
In a horror novel I completed and am redrafting, titled Dead Run the use of names also offers hints for readers. The main character, Hayden Cornell is a chemical engineer with a minor in particle physics and is a Christian. Once you learn what his first name means you tend to think something intriguing might change his world view.
Another character is Kael Weylyn Monaghan. Kael is another “great warrior” name in Celtic tradition and the Gaelic language. His middle name means “Son of the Wolf,” and his last name refers to “Monk.” By monk, anyone who knows me is aware I lean more toward Shaolin than Benedictine, so the events unfolding in the novel include that Kael is excellent at martial arts.
Even in my science fiction short story series, Flipspace names illuminate a character’s personality, background and motivations. For the longest time I resorted to an old phone book to mix and match first names to surnames, so long as they had common linguistic origins. However, more recently I found hunting down esoteric origins to names more fun, which I hope readers can also appreciate when they engross themselves into the worlds contained between book covers.
Seek out the history of your name. What meanings will you find?
John Steiner earned his Associate of Biology at Salt Lake Community College, where he is currently working as a tutor in math and chemistry. He exercises an avid interest in history, science, philosophy, mythology, martial arts as well as military tactics and technology.