Friday, February 20, 2009

Welcome Lynn Crain!

What’s in a name?

Recently I started a new series called ‘Protectors of the Earth’ and most of the stories in the series are about people who have the ability to use elemental power. You know what I’m talking about: Earth, Wind, Air and Fire.

It’s the stuff of legends. Think about the movies you know which use this type of force. Well, all the Star Wars movies use some type of elemental power. In them, it’s called the force and one has to be attuned to it before they can use it. Another story, The Fifth Element is very science fiction in nature but when it actually came to saving the world, they went back to the four elements. Then there’s one of my all time favorites, The Lord of the Rings series. If they don’t use elemental power and magic, I don’t know who does.

If you are fans of manga and anime, then you’ve seen plenty of elemental magic. Some of my favorites were Avatar, Naruto, InuYasha, Pokemon, and Sailor Moon. I could watch all those cartoons for hours. Also, Final Fantasy was based upon elementals. When I was designing this whole series, I really took into account just how Avatar was put together as it’s such a great story of the elements.

The whole concept is rampant in books and has been for years. Fantasy is strewn with those who can use elemental powers, some for good, some for evil. Some of my favorite stories have been based upon a Dungeons and Dragons type worlds. DragonLance was one of my favorite readings of all time. All nine books. LOL!

So, now it’s my turn to create fantastic characters and the first thing I realized was I had to name them for their element. Rather it was the second thing as I had the whole first book done before I had even planned the rest. What was strange is the fact the characters in the first book told me their names. I had had the heroine down as a one-liner for almost a year and every day she yelled at me for not doing more.

Last month, something told me I needed to get this series into high gear. So I finish the first story in record time and realized there is a whole lot more to the story. I decide then it’s time to take the plotting class which I’ve talked about in previous blogs. Once there I knew if I were ever to finish this series, it would have to be plotted meticulously and simultaneously.

So, I start with the second book and before I know it, I have the basics for each of the subsequent stories. Then come the names. After lots of thought, I decided to do something I’ve never done before and actually name the characters for what they were going to be. I looked up names and pondered if I would actually name someone that. Believe me when I say some of them were very strange looking and sounding at first.

Still, I have in my possession eight of the coolest sounding character names one would ever find. The second book is called ‘Playing with Fyre’ and the heroine is Endellion Fyre. She’s nicknamed Endy. The hero’s name is Haydn Keegan. Every word has something to do with fire which is their element. Endellion actually means fire soul. How cool is that?!?

I then took it one step further and went to a website called ‘How Many of Me’ which tells you just how many people in the world have any given name. Very cool tool for an author. I loved the fact there are only 18 Lynn Crains in the US. But I really loved the fact there is only one or less person who is named Endellion Fyre. Uniqueness is a great quality for a character. People tend to remember unique.

Your character’s name is one of your novel’s or story’s greatest assets. Sometimes the characters scream out their names loudly and they will drown out anything you might say or want to say. If they allow you to plan things out, try naming them for who they are, what they do, what they like or what ever floats your boat. Make sure they like it and you like it. You will know what a character’s name should be because it will feel right.

I went through at least three to five name choices for each of my elemental characters. I’d put the names together and let them roll, or not roll, off my tongue to see if my people were meant to have that name. Once everything clicked, my characters not only had a mission they became real to me in a way that still has me in its grip.

Now that each of them are firmly planted into my mind, I have to finish the stories. From time to time, I’ll give you all glimpses into this new and fantastic world I’m creating. You can see that progress occasionally at my regular blog, every Wednesday.

Hope you drop by to see how this wonderful story is shaping up!



AP Miller said...

Hi Lynn,

What an interesting post. I like the story idea for this series and can't wait to read it. It's great when you have a story that just nags at you to get done. It's also great when your characters tell the story for you.Makes life that much better! Keep the muse active...

AP Miller

Erin Quinn (aka Erin Grady) said...

Great post, Lynn. I always struggle with names and then when I finish a book I realize I've got 10 characters with names starting with M or something and I have to change half, lol. Challenges, challenges.

Jeanne said...

Neat post, Lynn
I love picking names for characters. I only had one character who ever disagreed with his name. I mean seriously. :~D
I wound up changing it to a stronger sounding name and he was satisfied!

Skhye said...

Wow! Fascinating explanation. Thanks for sharing your little part of the universe. I am in awe.

Morgan Mandel said...

I definitely believe the names of characters are important. If I don't like a character's name, I won't read the book.

Morgan Mandel

Becky said...

Great post Lynn. I enjoyed reading about you decide who your characters are and how there names deal with one of the four elements.