Monday, September 5, 2011

What's in a Name?

“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. And so Romeo would, were he not Romeo called.”
Noble advice, yet I feel it necessary to point out something—Romeo Montague was a prince, and a prince can have whatever name he likes and have beautiful, sensual people throw thrown at him in spite of his name.
Your average man, however, and particularly your heroes in erotica, cannot get away with those sorts of liberties. As much as it pains me to say it, none of your readers will want Throckmorton to lay with Inglebert., at least not in detail. Erotica is all about the details of two or more going to bed together, so that does present a problem.
Fear not, fear not, I plan to save you the trouble of scolding--it does no good and I have no fun with it whatsoever. I find it much more effective to simply provide for my people in these direst of situations.
My best advice, of course, would be to find yourself a book of baby names and a pen to mark them, or a highlighter to highlight them. You may be surprised which names strike that chord with you. There are, of course, fallbacks such as Lance and other such phallic names, but so long as your name is not so negatively connotative as Throckmorton, it can often work. As an example, and a tease, I plan to work with a character named Silas. A name that, according to linguistics, should be reserved for evil characters, yet it carries, at least for me, a certain silky flair, like that of a mysterious, ravenous bedfellow. Or chairfellow. Or kitchencounterfellow. Perhaps even a doorjambfellow.
I will also reveal to you my greatest guarded secret for names, one which I have never shared--not that it's hard to find, but I have never given the information directly to anyone before, so prepare yourselves:
I cannot tell you all how often I have visited this resource in desperation, and come away with more than I needed, or expected. Every time.
So, in answer to my own rhetorical question, there is quite a lot in a name.
Raven de Hart

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