Names are fickle things. Sometimes we like them, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we’ll go by different names to our given ones. Names that have stuck since childhood, middle names and other such things. As writers, we give our characters names breathing life into them. They’re the things that identify them, making them who they are. And sometimes, with those names you can get backstories – how a child was named this, or why a parent nicknames a child that. The character owns the name, until we can no longer see a point in time where they haven’t had that name or will not continue to do so. In short, it’s a little like naming your own children – you give them special, meaningful names that you hope both they and you will grow to like.
But, sometimes with the brain children that Charlotte and I share things just aren’t that simple. Like now, the names of our characters seem to be a steadfast and unchangeable thing and yet … here we are, changing some of our oldest characters names. And why? Because over time our story has evolved. Realms and other characters have come forward and those very, very early characters who have been here since day one aren’t always the same humans they started out with.
We’ve been overhauling our world, getting it into a functional and workable state. Last weekend was spent unpicking close on 2 years worth of work. It’s not pointless work because a lot of the world building we did do, we can reuse and evolve to fit in the world that we have now. It just requires us to be a little bit creative. But what does that mean for our names? Well, it means that we have characters with a diverse variety of names all over the show. There’s no continuity, no definition, no structure and nine times out of ten Charlotte and I will often pick names at the opposite end of the spectrum. They work for the characters but for little else …
So we have to get things uniform, without breaking some of our most fundamental characters. And that, is the challenge we face this weekend. How do we take those characters that are so integrated with their names, that have those backstories and histories surrounding their names and change them into something else …? Sometimes it’s the simple matter of changing a spelling, but other times? It’s being a little more creative, giving them their current name as a nickname, finding out the reason for that name and given them a new given name.
It’s not an easy task, not by a long stretch of the imagination but … to get everything linked, to let it make sense, this is something we have to do.
This is one of those times where I curse the art of writing, because something so almost trivial can make and break a character. There will be casualties along the way, on both sides, there’s going to be heartbreak as well … but hopefully, with a little bit of luck come this time next weekend we’ll be past our latest hurdle …
Wish us luck!