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.