On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Names and Identity

may have talked about this before, and we may have discussed it, but since I want to talk about it again, and the blog has many messages, I figure I can repeat myself.

Names are a Very Big Thing in my writing, and what I call my person, and what name they call themself or respond to is always significant.

Take poor Mayblossom Larkspur Bella Hawthorn Collinson Holly (and at one time it was …Hawthorn Collinson Apple…). She had too many names, and her grandparents were Heathers and personality-wise, she was more of that family. Holm (her hero) didn’t like calling her anything that anyone else did, so started the Bella thing (there’s an accent on the last a). But as Heart Duel wore on, Lark reacted to Mayblossom, accepted Bella from Holm, and managed to work through the grief for her first husband (Collinson).

I’m always fiddling with names, mostly because one of my main themes, if not THE main theme I always write about is determining your own identity, accepting who you are.

There’s Alexa Fitzwalter in Guardian of Honor. People can’t say her name. In dialogue it’s always (barring copy edit errors) Alyeka. Or my magical being Sinafin, who wants to keep her name secret because names are power (and a reader pointed out that I’d let it slip to everyone in Sorceress of Faith, so I found a reason to change it in Protector of the Flight). The people who can pronounce Alexa’s name correctly (or take the time to learn how to do so) are important in the story. The fact that they CAN pronounce her name endears them to her.

And this was all started when I called my brother to ask what to bring for Thanksgiving (ok, I’m writing this on Tuesday, though I anticipate it’s Turkey Day when I’m posting it).

“Hey, Tom,” I said. “This is Rob.” You see, everyone in my immediate family calls me Rob. The kids call me Auntie Robin, but my brothers and mother call me Rob. I don’t think I am capable of calling my brother and saying, “This is Robin.” It doesn’t sound right, especially after I hear his voice. If you shout “Rob” in a room, I’ll look around and answer.

Then there’s Robin D. Owens. The author. The full name. Recently on one of my lists (since I always sign Robin, http://www.robindowens.com) someone said they’d read that and didn’t recall that there was a Robin on the list, then realized who I was. She always thinks of me as Robin D. Owens. And since I type that so often, I know that persona, too. But Robin D. Owens doesn’t go to family Thanksgiving, Rob does.

So names are important to me, and if you explore themes similar to mine, they will be important to you (and your characters), too.

May you find just the right names today.
Robin (the writer)


Blogger Michele said...

Hey there, Robin D. Owens (*wink*)

8:47 PM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Thanks Michele, I hope you had a good one too.


1:35 AM  
Blogger moonhart said...

I am always dealing with names for some of the very reasons you mention. I have a character who takes on a new name to distance himself from his father and his clan, but will embrace his heritage (and birth name) by the end of the story.

Then I have a race of dragons and they only use one name. But in the mortal realm we use two...so I need my dragon (who can shift) to figure out a second name. And since names ARE powerful, he might have a secret name as well. He hasn't seen fit to tell me yet.

Names are definitely important.

Happy Black Friday, Robin!


1:27 PM  

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