Sunday, January 6, 2008

What's in a name?

Names in romance novels are always the first indication of whether or not I'm even going to open the book. I always check the back cover to see what the heroes' names are (or heroines, as the case may be). If the names don't immediately speak to me, the book goes back on the shelf.

This is not to say, of course, that there AREN'T masculine, sexy men out there named Horace or Norman. I just prefer my romance novel heroes to have names that pack a punch and create an instant picture of sex in my mind: Logan. Tyler. Jake. I seem to gravitate toward certain linguistic patterns in male names, both when I'm writing and when I'm reading. I like names that begin with the letters C or T. I like names that end with the letter N (Ian, Jason, Evan).

So tell me. What's in a name for you?


Anonymous said...

I see your point.

For me; Most of the m/m books written always have two male characters who are white. So you never get to see the beautiful names used by black, Indian or Muslim people. You get saddled down with the same 'John' and 'Peter' in most stories. Luckily at least some authors have used Chinese and Japanese characters which is comforting.


I do love the names: Josh and Adam. So it's not like I don't have my favourites.

Bad character names put me off too. Like one of B.A. Tortuga's new novella? I think one of the characters name in the blurb was "Spud" - Yeah that just put me off.

Mychael Black said...

Oh, thank God. Someone else who's picky about names.

I'm a little more lenient when reading, though bizarre names will throw me off at times. In writing, though, I have set patterns I tend to follow, in regards to main characters/couple:

The first and last names cannot share beginning letters/sounds.

Hard sounds for the more alpha-type; softer sounds for the non-alpha. (This isn't a firm rule, but one I've found myself following anyway.)

Tory Temple said...

Anonymousie -- you're very right. There are beautiful names from every culture/race in the world and we rarely get to see them in the "traditional" romance novels. A couple of my older "how to write a romance novel" guidebooks state that women readers gravitate toward male names with one syllable, or two-syllable names with hard consonants. I don't know how true that is.

My senior prom date's name was Adam Joshua, no lie. :)

Tory Temple said...

Hey Myc!

The first and last names cannot share beginning letters/sounds.

You mean like my pen name? ;) Hee, I know what you mean, though. I have my little rules too, and I'm totally with you on the hard consonant thing.

Mychael Black said...

*chuckles* As much as I adore you and your men, yeah--like that. Not sure why. LOL

Amanda Young said...

I hate books where the character's names all begin with the same letter. It drives me crazy.

When I'm writing, I either go with short names (Sam, Jake, Mark) or something weird (Cadge, Teague, Shame).

Growing up as one of about 4 Amanda's in every school classroom has put me off average names. I feel kind of sorry for any kids I have, cause they'll probably be named something strange. :)

Tory Temple said...

Amanda, funny you say that about your name, since I didn't think it was that common! I love the name Amanda and the derivative Mandy.

I LOVE the different types of names in romances, and I laughed out loud at Shame. That's a great name. One of my boys in Tabula Rasa is Teagan, so when you said Teague, I immediately perked up. :D

Amanda Young said...

It's super common for my age group here in Virginia. I swear, half the region named their female babies Amanda in the early 80's :)

J.M. Snyder said...

I gravitate towards names that start with sounds I think of as strong ~ A, D, J, N, R, S, T. My favorite name for a guy is Teague, but that's the fantasy fan in me talking.

I will spend HOURS pouring over baby name books trying out how a name sounds and whether or not I think it will work for the character.

For my current WIP, I wanted a strong name that conveyed no-nonsense strength, so I went with Vic. Short and to the point. To counter that, I chose Matt, because I think it's a good, solid name that can also be diminutive for a lover (Vic calls him Matty at times).

I've written some IR stories and agree that the rich and diverse names of multicultural characters can lend a great sense of reality to a story. My favorite IR character was a Latino hood, Angelo Echevarria, nicknamed Ange :)

Tory Temple said...

Hey, JM. I go to baby books or baby-naming websites too! They're useful, aren't they?

My hero in my latest release is named Teagan. He gets called "Teag" for short, so I understand your attraction to the name. I usually like picking names that can be shortened out of affection. I'm a big sucker for nicknames, too.

Emily Veinglory said...

So long as they aren't named like Daddy was a Goth and Mum a hippy, you know Lash, Raine, Stripe or some such rubbish.

Tory Temple said...

LOL, Emily! I kind of like the name Stripe. I picture a really heavy-handed Dom who likes to leave stripes on unmarked skin...

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