Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Rose by Any Other Name with Syndi Powell





Only 17 days until my third book, "Two-Part Harmony" releases, and my excitement is just the same as if it was the first. I named my hero in the first book after my dad, and I've kept up the family tradition with each book. In the second book, it was my sister Sue's turn although the character later informed me that her name was Suzy and not Sue. In the third book, it's my nephew Sam who lends his name to the hero, and I've sprinkled family and friends' names including last names throughout the series.

Shakespeare said that a rose by any other name is just as sweet, but would he have said that if we called roses stinkworts or fussybudgets? Have you ever met someone named Fred and thought to yourself, "But he doesn't look or act like a Fred"? Yep, I feel like that a lot when I'm creating characters. Names are a huge part of nailing down who the character is, and often I'll use one name only to have to change it later (like Suzy instead of Sue). In one story, I'd named a character Vic but I couldn't get figure out who this guy was until he let me know me went by the nickname of Mack instead. Suddenly, I knew who this guy was and what he wanted.

A name makes up a huge part of a person's history and personality, often morphing as he or she grows up. For example, a Robert may be Bobby when a child but grow into a Bob. A man who is still called Bobby tells you a bit about him since he could be immature and more interested in a good time. A Christina is more likely to be cold and sophisticated compared to her all-American sweetheart Christy or athletic Chris.. A Julie will be different from a Julia which will differ from a Juliet and even a Jules.

I was thirteen and trying to figure out my own identity when I changed the spelling of my nickname Cindy to Syndi. I had already gone through other incarnations such as Cindi and Cindie. But when I came upon Syndi, I suddenly realized that I was a unique individual who was creative and looking for a way to stand out from everyone else. It fit me. The spelling stuck for the last thirty years though at work I'm called by Cynthia to establish a more professional demeanor.

So what's in a name? Quite a bit actually.


15 comments:

  1. I give family names to characters, too, but it's interesting how seldom they stick. It's as though the only people who can have those names are my own personal ones! A great post, Syndi!

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  2. I was intrigued by the spelling of your name, Syndi. Thank you for sharing the backstory!

    In addition to the fun I have naming characters, I enjoy finding the right names for the furry, four-legged characters in my books, too.

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  3. Names are a big thing to me and I have to live with the character in my head while I'm mulling over what their place is in my story. I spend a lot of time trying out names. The few times I've been asked to change the name of a main character it's painful. But I assume my editor has a good reason. And Syndi, I really like this unique spelling of your name. I actually have had 2 friends over time who went to court to legally change their names, because the name their parent gave them didn't feel right. I found that odd, but interesting, too. Yay on soon seeing your book out. Looking forward to it.

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  4. How neat! I love that you decided to change the way you spelled your name to reflect your personality. As a "Karen" I've always felt really run-of-the-mill, average, blend-in kind of a person. If only I'd tried Caryen or something unique like that! I love that you use family names in your stories, Syndi! My grandfather's name is Onofrio.... I wonder if I could use that... hmmmmm... lol

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  5. People’s names change. When I’ve met classmates and referred to them by their name from schooldays, I’ve been told, “I don’t go by that anymore.” It’s a hard adjustment to wrap my mind around their new name. I like how you spell your nickname. I’ve never had one, the closest being Mare that a neighbor used. A horse! Ugh!
    I definitely have to read your book if the hero plays a guitar.

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  6. I remember when I was younger, my parents told me they were going to name me Kellie, but they changed their mind at the last minute. I always wondered if I would be different as a Kellie verses a Jill. :) I used several family member names in my book. I love to name characters.

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  7. I love naming characters. I have every baby names book ever written and I make myself long lists before deciding - usually. Sometimes a character is born in my head already named. Sometimes I end up changing the name in chapter six or seven. Like Marion, you can't do much to Muriel to create a nickname. A few relatives call me Mur. The name is odd and old-fashioned (as am I) and I was once introduced to a young woman who said, "Oh, my goat is named Muriel.) I hope it was an Angora.

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    1. Forgot to add congratulations on the book, and that it's so nice to hear from you! You should check in more often.

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  8. Like Muriel, I have a bunch of baby names books. Sometimes I make lists of characters' names so no two will begin with the same letter or have the same sound. Other times my story people insist upon what they want to be called. Thirteen or so seems to be the time when girls (or boys, maybe) experiment with their own names. I don't have a nickname now, but as a child my grandmother had several for me. I miss that now as she's been gone a while.

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  9. I once knew a Shelly, who decided one day to become an Annette (her middle name). The fact that at age twelve she managed to re-train everyone who knew her says something about the force of her personality.

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  10. This is such an interesting subject, Syndi. I know a few people who have changed their names as well. As a writer I feel like you and most everyone above that names are so very important to the character. I change them often until they sit just right... In my first book I had to change a secondary (important one) at the last minute and it kinda broke my heart. I still think of her by the name I originally gave her.

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  11. I get quite involved in deciding character names...everything from meaning to the 'sound' of it. Love that you have a family tradition around it!

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  12. Names are the toughest for me, although I have also weaved family members into my stories. All three of my kids have been in my books. Sometimes as small characters, but they all have had their moment in print!

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  13. My friend named her daughter Lauren but changed it to Elizabeth, after her mother-in-law, because she cared for the newborn after my friend became sick with toxemia right after the birth and had to stay in the hospital for a month. Her daughter HATES the name Elizabeth for some reason. She prefers to be called by her middle name. I was just told that story yesterday so I wanted to mention it.
    I like how your name is spelled Syndi. It's unique. I've always liked the name Cynthia. I think it sounds sophisticated. I think a name can definitely reflect a person's character. Congratulations on the new book. : )

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  14. Naming characters is so difficult for me. It has to fit and "click" with the character. I was called Patsy growing up and I always hated that name, so after school, I shortened it to Pat. When I was choosing a pen name, settled on my maiden name for my last. As I was going back and forth on the first name--anything but Patricia. In discussing it with my mom, she quietly said, "If I hadn't thought Patricia was pretty, I wouldn't have named you that. What do you do after that? lol

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