“Names A New Perspective”: Recapping A Great SpecFic Guest Series
As noted then, the fuller brief for “Names A New Perspective” was:
“… how the names of characters and places and other things within their novels (and other works where appropriate) fit into their setting, their relevance and their power.”
The “new” perspective was because all the guest authors were new and/or newish authors like myself. I looked forward to reading their thoughts on names and naming in the context of their writing for that reason alone, as well as for the general interest of the topic. And on all counts, I have to say that I have not been disappointed. As a series, I think it has been excellent and I really thank Abhinav for putting it together.
An additional plus was that Abhinav posted links to his reviews of each guest author’s books, where applicable, and also added a commentary to the post where he had read a book or books.
So all up, if you have not been following the series, I thoroughly recommend it to you. Here is the complete ‘first season’ of authors, post titles, and opening lines, just to get you started—but you will have to link through to get the full goodness of each post.
Names A New Perspective:
24th September – Myke Cole – The Significance Of Names
“Ancient and medieval cultures typically attach great significance to a name. In plenty of magic systems, knowing the name of a thing grants a person tremendous power over it…”
27th September – Chris F. Holm – The Devil’s In The Details
“I have a confession to make: I’m lousy at coming up with character names.
I think it’s because I’m lousy with names in general. They just never seem to stick. …”
1st October – Kim Curran – Names Are Fun
“As I mostly write near-future / alternative present sci-fi and urban fantasy, I don’t tend to go in for fantastical names. This is because I want the setting to feel as real as possible, so that the reader will stick with me when I start to take them on more unbelievable adventures. …”
8th October – Teresa Frohock – A Game Of Names
“For the record, I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time on names in my novels. I do try to choose names that immediately conjure an image in my readers’ minds. I make it my policy to keep these names as simple as possible. …”
11th October – Helen Lowe – The Power Of Names
“The power of names is an important them in Fantasy literature… Nonetheless, when I began writing my first novel, The Heir of Night (Heir), names were not part of my vision for the magic system of either the alien Derai Alliance or the world of Haarth.”
15th October – Anne Lyle – Names As Characters
“When I was asked to contribute a guest post to this series, I was happy to oblige as I’ve always been fascinated by names. Then I realised that I didn’t have much to say about character names in my current series, because the majority of them are real historical figures and the rest are dictated by my desire to be accurate to Elizabethan practices. …”
18th October – Courtney Schafer – Building Fantasy Worlds One Name At A Time
“It doesn’t take us long as children to figure out the importance of names. Soon after my son learned to talk, he went through a phase in which he desperately wanted to know the name of every random person he saw. … When I explained I didn’t know the strangers’ names, not without being introduced, he protested in dismay, “But Mommy, then how do you know who they are?” In that question, I heard the echo of every fantasy story in which true names hold power both magical and dangerous….”
22nd October – Lou Morgan - The Naming Of Things
“Names are a big deal. Names have, to paraphrase, power. There’s a phrase in the Book of the Dead – one of the most important spells provided to help the dead navigate the Afterlife, as it happens – which translates to :”I know you and I know your name.”…”
25th October – Jeff Salyards – A Name By Any Other Name
“I’m not a linguist. And even if I were, I’d still be far too lazy to invent languages for various peoples in my fantasy world. … While I absolutely respect the time and energy required of anyone following Tolkien’s lead on language and nomenclature, I’m far more instinctive in my approach. …”
29th October – Gwenda Bond – Names, Names And Names
“Names, names, names! Okay, since I only have the one book out that’s the one I’m going to talk about. Names in Blackwood are obviously very important. One’s right there in the title—the surname of the heroine Miranda. (And, as some have already guessed, Miranda’s first name is a nod to The Tempest, which felt right given the story’s island setting.) …”
1st November – Stina Leicht – What’s In A Name
“World-building is more than maps. World-building is also geology, ecology, finance, government, technology, culture and a million subtle things that most people take for granted. Good writers use every opportunity to illustrate their fictional world, including character names and urban fantasy writers aren’t exempt. …”
8th November – Elspeth Cooper – A Rose By Any Other Name
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
The Bard may have the right of it when it comes to the real world, but names of characters in fiction – especially speculative fiction – can be a whole ’nother kettle of finny things. …”
12th November – David Annandale – The Depths of Names
“All fiction writers are involved in world-building, whether or not their work falls into the realm of the fantastic (by which I mean science fiction, fantasy, horror and all their subcategories and hybrids). As well, one might think of fiction as the truthful telling of lies. …”
So there you have it, dear readers, a fabulous line up on “Names A New Perspective”—so do read on!