Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for...Being by BC Sirrom

Welcome to Unwritten's little corner of the the A-Z Blogging Challenge! If you want to see the whole lineup, click HERE!

Day 2 brings us a rather existential post about names. Look at these two quotes:
1. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.— William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
2. Words have meaning and names have power. — Author Unknown
Two contradictory thoughts? Read how BC Sirrom describes her method of finding character names and give us your thoughts on the matter of... 

B is for...a name is BEING

How do you choose a name? In depth research? Random Selection? or Pick What Sounds Right?

Naming a character is a very difficult thing. It is akin to naming a child, except a child will amend his name as he grows up. But your character is either blessed or cursed by your christening forever. I have noticed in many novels the hero has a common, even plain name while the secondary characters’ names have more flair. This method has some logic. Secondary characters need a device to be memorable and in contrast continually repeating a complicated or exotic name for the hero becomes tedious. I am aware of this method, yet don’t always follow it. However, I think a short, easy to say name is always a good choice for a main character.

I choose my character names almost completely by phonetics. In truth, I picked the letter ‘b’ for this blog because I like its resonance. I try to give my characters a name that sounds good. It is hard to describe but the name should ‘feel’ right. Saying the name outloud helps. I find I tend to shorten names (a family habit) often to only a syllable or two.

Beo was my first named character. I fruitlessly researched names online. I pillaged my thesaurus. I agonized over the selecting the perfect name for my brave heroine. ‘Beo’ was inspired by the tale of ‘Beowulf’. I was drawn to the strength of the word and its primal quality. Beo is an ancient immortal. She couldn’t be named something like ‘Tiffany’ or ‘Suzanne’. She is of a different time and place. ‘Beo’ resonated with me. It was as strong and layered as my character.

I do research names. Not in a baby name book or traditional name meaning websites. I think of characteristics I admire or are important to the core of a character (For example, ‘loyal’ ‘love’ ‘pain’). Then I research those words in various research books. I try to tie the characters’ name to the time and place of their origin. Going through the Latin roots of words is also insightful in picking or devising the right sounding name.

After Beo was given her name, she was even more real. I could picture her and what she would do in a given situation. My thought processed changed from ‘what would my character do next in the story’ to a much simpler ‘what would Beo do’.

“This is why I am called ‘Beo’. I am. I exist.”
- Beo, Solstice Night

Originally from rural West Virginia, Sirrom currently lives in Tennessee with her husband. She studied architecture and landscape architecture, earning degrees in both. She loves creativity in all its forms: art, music, literature, etc. B.C. has always enjoyed storytelling, but until recently never put one of her stories to paper. Writing began as a way to relax during graduate school. No one knew she was writing until her first novel, Solstice Night was under contract. She writes stories that she would enjoy reading, such as fantasy, sci-fi, mystery and paranormal romance. Now working full-time, B.C. still finds time to write every day…well, almost.
Buy it HERE!

Solstice Night:
Dis exists in silent rage. His human life was taken by a paranoid vampire and the centuries since have been spent in bloody darkness. He is a vampire, but he is a slave. He doesn't let himself think or want.He survived on instinct until Beo. She liberates his body, but ensnares his heart. She is both more alive and more powerful than any being he has ever known. But will she be commanding ally or another Master to enslave him?


  1. I never thought of that before. You couln't have an all-powerful super heroine called Debbie or Sharon. And I don't think I could trust myself to a hero called Willie. Great post, Sirrom

  2. I really identified with this post. I too agonize over the names of my characters. And I too like to research the meaning of names and find characteristics that match.

    I have to admit, (although I'll never tell who is who!) I sometimes christen characters with some variation of a person in my life that I've had/have strong emotions for-good and bad! ;-)

    Enjoyed this!

  3. This was great reading. Names are truly everything. Awesome!

  4. Thank you, Mysti!

    The blog looks great. (You always make me seem more put together than I really am.)


    1. I'm never put together, so it's nice to give that illusion to someone else ;)

      Thanks for tackling B!


  5. A name can be a bitter thing
    To live up or live down
    And so an author strives to find
    Balance 'tween lord and clown
    For who could follow deeds of lore
    By Bill or Bob or Jane?
    Or get behind a name so grand
    That reading it's a pain?
    A name should be just like a seed
    With care it must be grown
    Until through time and tide and plot
    You make the name your own

    1. Wow, what a cool poem! Thanks so much for posting it!


    2. WOW -- love the feel, the tone, the message - nice

  6. I thinks it's really interesting how you choose a name - you go to the root of it, find the latin meaning and go from there. That's a beautiful way of thinking about things - go to the soul or the root of the matter as it may be.
    Good foor for thought today.

  7. Thanks for some new ideas. Many of my names just appear from within, but I think if I were to think about aspects I wanted to embrace, that "appearance" would be stronger. Love the names and that quote from the book.


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