The topic of last night's Loft class was the creation of characters, which I've talked about here before. However, at the tail end of the class, Keri asked, "How do you pick the names for your characters?"
I kind of pulled a Neil on her and answered, "magic."
So I thought I should probably elaborate on that.
Naming is a very strange process for me. I love names. I really do think they have a lot of power. Getting a character name exactly right is something I spend a lot of time on.
First of all, I usually start by combing through my various baby name books. I have a ton, which I had even before I had baby, as it were. I have books that just list names alphabetically, and ones that divide names by ethnic origin. There are TONS of on-line sources for names, if you're so inclined -- all you have to do is plug "baby names" into Google and you'll get about a million hits.
But then the process starts to become really... personal.
I say names that seem interesting out loud. I try to imagine what a "Max" might look like compared to a "Matyas." And I can't tell you why I might go for one over the other, except that one will "FEEL" right.
A lot of it is rhythm or how it flows from my lips. Some of it is practical (ala, "oops, I've already got three guys whose names start with "M.") Some of it is flights of fancy (I've always thought the name "Constantine" to be sexy. I have no idea why, and it's not from either the movie or the Hellblazer comic book). I just like imperial names, like that, I think.
Magic, I guess.