General chatter - Input requested - Novel character names




kaplods
10-29-2009, 01:40 PM
I'm participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month - November), for the first time.

Anyone interested in signing up or learning more here's the official link.
http://www.nanowrimo.org/

Per the challenge rules, I won't be actually starting the novel until November 1, but I'm working on plotting, outlining, and naming my characters.

I have two characters (both male, and brothers) that I'm having trouble naming, and I want to get some impressions on some of my choices (I want first impression, which is why I haven't given you much detail about the characters).

If anyone is interested, I could use a little help. So if you've got a few minutes and it sounds fun, please read the following name pairs and tell me which of the two would you expect to be the stronger (mentally or physically) character.

1. Ennis Cowan

2. Fergus Cowan

3. Angus Cowan

4. Ennis Tavish

5. Fergus Tavish

6. Angus Tavish


Did you have a favorite pair?

Also (if you're still interested) - what would your impression be of the physical or personality traits of a character named:


Ennis-
Fergus-
Angus-
Tavish-
Cowan-

Thanks so much.


Marathon Mom
10-29-2009, 01:49 PM
Ooh neat topic. I am very visual when it comes to reading.

What is the time period?

Ennis - Mindful, Weak in build, Clever in the mind, Loyal, Momma's boy
Fergus - Weak in the heart and mind, sickly, not a leader, needy
Angus - Strong in the heart and mind, Physically captivating, a leader

Tavish - Ethnic, not a strong heritage, weak willed
Cowan - Strong surname, pride, pure blooded

JulieJ08
10-29-2009, 01:52 PM
Well, I am so unaccustomed to the names that I can't say which sound stronger.

But I'm not a fan of names in fiction that are obviously meant to evoke something about the character, as if the parents magically knew at birth what they would be like. Same with appearance (as in movies).


mrs dorson
10-29-2009, 02:07 PM
i really like Tavish.

want to put a MC in front?

my fav name is mcTavish.

ennis---baby brother, whiny and spiteful

fergus----old, grizzled, wise and garrulous

angus------MY FAVORITE NAME ever. strong in mind and body. fair. HOT. hehe. leader. quick tempered. spoiled by his momma as he is the favored one.


need a girl name?

anastasia.....adore that name.

marbear24
10-29-2009, 03:53 PM
I'm doing this too!! We should start a little "dieting while frantically writing" forum... because when I'm frantically creating something my diet goes to poop! I don't want this to happen again!

And I like Cowan :)

kaplods
10-29-2009, 04:06 PM
I also don't link overly obvious character names. I hope I'm being more subtle than Dudly Doright, and Snidely Wiplash. However, on a pure instinct level - all names in fiction need to somewhat reflect the... well, character of the character. A character named "Daisy" isn't going to be taken seriously as an action hero. "Bubba" isn't going to be a believable college professor.


The names of these characters are important, because of their relationship to one another (they are brothers - twins).

The time period is modern day - but the setting is a somewhat rigid, closed community (think Amish - if the Amish were werewolves).

In this werwolf community, there's a strong Celtic/Gaelic heritage (Celtic, Gaelic, Irish, Scottish, Welsh) mixed in with influences the local human heritage near by (it's not uncommon, but somewhat disapproved of for a werewolf to marry a human). In this werewolve community, names are considered very important, and are chosen very carefully.

There's enough contact with the human world (media) that a werewolf parent may very well name their child "Steven" or "Mary," but Gaelic/Celtic names are still most common.

Ennis/Fergus/Angus - all mean roughly (first or best choice).

Cowan/Tavish mean twin

The men are brothers and the first born is given the name Ennis, Fergus, or Angus. The second brother is given the name Cowan or Tavish. The names' meanings reflects the family dynamic as the first son is obviously expected to be the favored child, the second's name (meaning twin) is almost like he isn't given an identity (name) of his own. You can see why the boys might have a stormy relationship and might interpret their names as meaning"The one we wanted," and "the extra one" (at least that's how one or both might interpret them). Neither boy will be able to fit the role they will have believed that their parents set for them in the naming choice.


The irony is that the first born is physically handicapped in some way and the younger brother has to take on the responsibilities of the eldest son (that should by rights belong to the older brother - even if he is only older by a few minutes) and he must also take on the role of caretaker for his brother as well.

The younger brother may feel some guilt at not being able to fulfill the role his family would have had for him - but mostly he's care-free and irresponsible, because he was pampered by parents feeling guilty themselves about his disability, which only confirms to the second son (who has to be the responsible one) that he is the less favored by his parents.

It's basically a Caine and Abel relationship, but I want the younger brother (the Travis or Cowan) to be the stronger brother (though he doesn't always even realize it), and I want his name to reflect that.

kaplods
10-29-2009, 04:19 PM
I'm doing this too!! We should start a little "dieting while frantically writing" forum... because when I'm frantically creating something my diet goes to poop! I don't want this to happen again!

And I like Cowan :)


We do have a nanowrimo thread started (below). I was going to post this question there, but I thought I'd like to open the questions to a larger group.


http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/general-chatter/183693-nanowrimo-
support.html


I wanted the Celtic/Gaelic tie-in, because I have some irish and scottish ancestry (I was adopted, and my parents named me Colleen because of the irish heritage - even though their heritages are Polish, German, and Italian).

I collect music that has Gaelic/Celtic influence - mostly irish folk music (fighting and drinking songs), but everything from Enya to Dropkick Murphys.

I even made an itunes "writing music" playlist of all my Celtic instrumental music and songs sung in Gaelic (because words I understand distracts me from the writing, whereas instrumentals and vocals I can't interpet are the perfect background noise).

Glory87
10-29-2009, 04:33 PM
I do like the name Ennis, but now I always think of Brokeback Mountain (which was a fabulous movie, but not sure if it's the connotation you want for your male twins).

I guess I would go with Angus and Tavish. I would definitely not do Angus and Cowan, that's a fairly bovine combo (Angus Beef + cow-an).

kaplods
10-29-2009, 04:40 PM
I do like the name Ennis, but now I always think of Brokeback Mountain (which was a fabulous movie, but not sure if it's the connotation you want for your male twins).

I guess I would go with Angus and Tavish. I would definitely not do Angus and Cowan, that's a fairly bovine combo (Angus Beef + cow-an).


LOL - See that's exactly what I was needing - someone pointing out some pitfalls to names I'd chosen and was too close to, to see.

Yep - the bovine connotation would be unfortunate for werwolf twins (I can just see them being bullied on the werewolf playground), especially since one is destined to be Alpha one day (Sort of Mayor-King of the community).

It might be interesting to weave into the story a gay werewolf character, but since the twins are going to be fighting over the same woman at some point, I think they both have to seem strongly hetero-

JulieJ08
10-29-2009, 04:59 PM
I also don't link overly obvious character names. I hope I'm being more subtle than Dudly Doright, and Snidely Wiplash.

I wasn't remotely suggesting that type of name ;)

However, on a pure instinct level - all names in fiction need to somewhat reflect the... well, character of the character. A character named "Daisy" isn't going to be taken seriously as an action hero. "Bubba" isn't going to be a believable college professor.


We can disagree then. I'm sure you're not suggesting that someone, in real life, named Bubba can't accomplish and be anything he wants to be, including professor if he so chooses. I agree he will have some challenges ;)

But anyway, now I'm really confused about your question. If the names are chosen at birth *because* they have meanings about first born, second born, etc., what does it matter how they "sound"; and I don't get why one child would be given two names that contradict, e.g., Ennis (first/best) Tavish (twin)?

kaplods
10-29-2009, 05:36 PM
We can disagree then. I'm sure you're not suggesting that someone, in real life, named Bubba can't accomplish and be anything he wants to be, including professor if he so chooses. I agree he will have some challenges ;)

But anyway, now I'm really confused about your question. If the names are chosen at birth *because* they have meanings about first born, second born, etc., what does it matter how they "sound"; and I don't get why one child would be given two names that contradict, e.g., Ennis (first/best) Tavish (twin)?


The issue isn't real life, it's fiction. In real life, we're encouraged "not to judge," (but we do anyway). A parent may give a child the name "Timmy" but if he's going to be taken seriously, he may choose to go by Thomas.

I could choose to write about professor Bubba or assasin "Daisy," but I would have to address the dichotomy between their name and their character. Is Daisy a man - with boy-named-Sue syndrome? Or is it an ironic nickname? What challenges does Professor Bubba have to deal with because of his name?

If I pick a name that has a connotation that is inconsistent with the character, it can affect the readers' perception of the character. Since connotation is mostly unconscious - a reader may not even realize that it's a "weak-sounding" name that is influencing their perception of the character.

Who would you expect to win a fight Brutus or Timmy? If all you have is the name (for minor characters), you do have to consider how a name sounds.

The characters I'm mentioning are not the main players in the novel. They're the main character's father and uncle. The backstory will eventually become important, but it's going to be a while before the readers get enough backstory to judge the father and uncle on their own merit, but until then the names are a start.

In fiction and in real life - names matter. Unconsciously people respond to names - often not even realizing that they do (it's why I used the outrageously exagerated examples of Dudley and Snidely).

As to why parents would choose to insensitively name a child or give one child a "better" name, or why they would treat children (especially twins) drastically differently - sadly it happens all the time - and the personal tragedy of it is something I want in the story.

The meanings of the names are important in the story - to set up the unfairness of their relationship (and the tragedy of the parents seeing/treating the children so unfairly) - but the connotation is also important to the reader. The second-rate child turns out to be the stronger person, the more deeply developed character. It's the irony that will be important to the story. He needs to come off as the stronger character.

How the name "sounds" is important, because of the natural (and usually unconscious) tendency for people to judge a character in part by his or her name. For minor characters, who won't get alot of story time, this is probably more important than for the main characters, who will at least have more opportunity through their thoughts and actions (revealed in the novel) to display their character.

JulieJ08
10-29-2009, 05:47 PM
I could choose to write about professor Bubba or assasin "Daisy," but I would have to address the dichotomy between their name and their character.

That is true. A neutral name would fix that.

Who would you expect to win a fight Brutus or Timmy?

Eh, I'd be wondering how the heck I'm supposed to know without any information. ;)

As to why parents would choose to insensitively name a child or give one child a "better" name, or why they would treat children (especially twins) drastically differently - sadly it happens all the time - and the personal tragedy of it is something I want in the story.

Nah, I wasn't asking that. I was asking why they would name one child "Ennis Tavish", as per your listed examples. But maybe each example was supposed to be the names of two children. I thought you meant each example was a child's first and middle name. But I think I see what you meant now.

kaplods
10-29-2009, 05:51 PM
Nah, I wasn't asking that. I was asking why they would name one child "Ennis Tavish", as per your listed examples. But maybe each example was supposed to be the names of two children. I thought you meant each example was a child's first and middle name. But I think I see what you meant now.


Yes, each numbered example was meant to be the first name only of each of the two brothers.

ars
11-02-2009, 08:50 PM
1. Ennis Cowan

2. Fergus Cowan

3. Angus Cowan

4. Ennis Tavish

5. Fergus Tavish

6. Angus Tavish

I bolded the name find stronger of the pair.

Did you have a favorite pair? I like #4, Ennis and Tavish.

Also (if you're still interested) - what would your impression be of the physical or personality traits of a character named:


Ennis-fair haired, clumsy, soft spoken, intelligent, adventurous
Fergus-muscular, messy hair and facial fuzz, agile, courageous
Angus-muscular, a bit dumb, impulsive, brash
Tavish-heroic, leader, charismatic, righteous, kind
Cowan-in all honesty, I pictured a donkey...I have not idea why

HTH!

dragonwoman64
11-03-2009, 03:41 PM
1. Ennis Cowan

2. Fergus Cowan

3. Angus Cowan

4. Ennis Tavish

5. Fergus Tavish

6. Angus Tavish

I tried not to read too much of the replies, so this would be off the top of my head/first impression.

I prefer the name Tavish to Cowan.

in order, Ennis, Fergus, Angus

Ennis Tavish, I think of someone quiet, that talks when he needs to and says what's necessary. People respect him, but he has difficult establishing relationships because of how much he keeps to himself. He's steadfast, which can turn into a lack of flexibility that doesn't always serve him well. He's lean and muscular. Dark eyes and hair.

Fergus Tavish likes to joke. He's charming, flirty, smiles easily and often. People are drawn to his open friendliness. He works hard when he has to, but would rather enjoy the company of friends and girlfriends then put his nose to the grindstone. He often acts without thinking about what he's doing as much as he should. He's tall, leaning towards extra lbs, good looking, with a strong nose and chin, thick wavy hair.

fun way to end my day, thanks, hope that helps.

bargoo
11-03-2009, 03:58 PM
Anyone named Ennis would be plagued with being called Ennis the penis, especially in the lower grades at school.It sounds like you are looking for Scottish names , oldest brother is Fergus and the younger is Angus.

EZMONEY
11-03-2009, 10:00 PM
That is funny BARGOO!...

unles you are an Ennis of course!

I have no clue Colleen but my best wishes for you!

kaplods
11-04-2009, 12:40 AM
Thanks. I think that one of the brothers may not even show up in this novel, so I'm rethinking the names and their backgrounds. Not sure if the father having a dead twin brother twin may add an unnecessary plot twist.

Since Ennis rhymes with Dennis, I have to say I never considered the penis reference (I wonder if boys named Dennis have that problem).

EZMONEY
11-04-2009, 08:00 AM
All I can think of with that one is MENACE...but I doubt kids these days know much about that rascal.

bargoo
11-04-2009, 05:00 PM
I pronoune Ennis as Eenis thus the rhyming with penis. However you pronounce it , it is not a good name IMHO,