Tell me … at first glance, what do you think this is?
When we first purchased our property in rural southern Arizona in 2004 (me and hubby), we found these odd-looking twiggy-looking “hooks” all over our property. A friend once glued them to a board and drew a face around them. They suddenly transformed into the pincers of a prehistoric insect.
Indeed, these ‘claws’ have a primordial feel to them. In actuality, they come from the lovely plant at the bottom of this post (photo by Kathy Becraft). They are called Devil’s Claw… So our first instinct to deem these foreign objects as “sinister” was shared by someone else, at least – some botanist who had the same creepy feeling when naming them.
For Writers: What’s in a name, anyway? The name “Devil’s Claw” conjures all kinds of feelings – foreboding, pain, evil. When you’re naming your characters, or even the towns they live in, the streets they roam, the names of their pets … are you thinking about the impact those names will have? Do they fit the personality type, the setting, the book’s theme?
When reading an excellent novel recently by Teri Coyne (The Last Bridge), I realized how fitting the main character’s name was to her personality, her past. “Cat” Rucker. Doesn’t that sound like a tough-as-nails name? You learn that Cat is a nickname winnowed down from the full name “Alexandra” to “Ally” to “Alley Cat,” and finally to “Cat.” Without spoiling anything, I will just say that it’s a perfect name for this character. (And the plot, characters, storyline … riveting!)
When selecting your character’s names, give them some serious consideration. Even the way the name rolls off the tongue has some appeal to readers. And in some instances, names may have hidden historic or spiritual significance. Never underestimate the power of a name!