Thursday, 7 June 2018

What Else Is In A Name?

What else is in a name?

I talked before about the topic of names, and I feel like there is a little more to be said on the topic, so here we go, essentially a What's in a name part 2.

I while ago I read what I think was either a blog post or website on the topic of the film Prometheus, which talked at length about many of its issues. (I've been looking but can't seem to find it again, which is a shame because I would have both liked to have linked it to here and re-read.) but one of the things I distinctly remember was that the name of Prometheus itself. While there is nothing wrong with foreshadowing in fiction (I personally really want to get better at this) the post commented on the fact that the name Prometheus was far too on-the-nose when you consider the ship was searching for information (when you consider what happened to Prometheus in Greek mythology.)

The post also then compared it to building a spaceship designed to collect samples from the Sun, and then naming it Icarus. It just screams problems and the foreshadowing is again far too strong.

Again, there is nothing wrong with foreshadowing or using a clever name that relates to the plot in some way, but at the same time they don't have to relate at all, it could be a name for Character purposes rather than plot ones.

A great example in my opinion is in Matthew Reilly's book, Seven Ancient Wonders, in which the protagonist's aircraft is known as the Halicarnassus, a clear reference to one of the Wonders. This name works for character and plot purposes, but foreshadows nothing in the process.

My character Disaster drawn by my good friend
and talented artist Deborah Halton 
An example of my own is less impressive, the aircraft owned and used by some of my protagonists is known as Disaster, not the nicest or friendliest of names, but I find it works. But in my case Disaster is more than just a name. In my previous post here I mentioned that Artificial Intelligence is something I find interesting and like to use, well Disaster is one of these. In my other name-related post here I also mentioned my liking of acronyms, well I also did that here. Disaster in my case stands for 'Dedicated Intelligence System for Analysis, Situation Testing and Exercise Response.' Right off the bat I have a name that not only sounds intimidating, but also offers some back-story.

So I challenge you, when you create your next character, building, vehicle or organisation, give it a name that is not only something for you to call it, but will be one that almost tells a story on its own. let them be not 'In name only,' but in name and beyond.

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