Thursday, October 4, 2012

Express Yourself: Naming

Okay guys, I know I don't normally post on Thursdays, but I'm in the midst of revising my blogging schedule.  I plan to reveal my new schedule on Monday. As it is, since I'm changing things up some, I figured there was no harm in posting on an odd day.  For those who may be curious, I'm not changing things drastically by any means.  I'm just adjusting for memes that I've gotten involved with.

One of those new memes is the inspiration for today's post.  Maybe I was simply captivated by the badge because it reminded me of Wordle.  Or maybe I thought it sounded like a good way to get involved in something new.  Either way, here I am!

Thanks to Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests for starting this.  Seriously guys, how do you come up with so many great ideas?  It baffles me.  I'm slightly jealous of your collective genius, but not too jealous to jump into the fun!

This is a weekly meme, and a monthly schedule of topics will be posted.  This week's topic piqued my interest immediately.  The task is to pick a name from my current WIP, and to then describe my process of acquiring it.

Naming has always been an important process for me.  The name you choose for a character can say a lot about them.  In the real world, names don't always mesh with someone's personality, though a bold name that stands out can certainly influence someone a lot.  However, in the realm of fiction where there's a crazy writer behind the wheel, a carefully chosen name can say everything about someone.

I chose the serial that I've been writing for my Friday posts.  It's called Memoirs From the End of the World.  One character in that story is named Alyx.  He's able to survive in a world where reproduction is forced upon people by alien overlords because he is naturally sterile.  He is therefore useless to the overlords that seek to control everyone else.

Just to be clear, the rest of what I'm about to say hasn't been addressed in my story yet, so if any of you have been reading it and don't want to risk reading any spoilers about the character, then you shouldn't read past this point.  However, I personally don't think I'm giving away anything too crucial to the overall story.

Though Alyx identifies as male, at birth it was obvious that his reproductive system hadn't fully developed inside or outside.  Growing up, he worried that no girl would be able to understand his condition or would be willing to deal with it. After all, he isn't what many would consider a "real man" given his condition. That's why I gave him a name that could be used either as male or female.  That is also the reason I used the unusual spelling.  Given that the sexes are defined by the chromosomal pairings of XX and XY, I couldn't resist the opportunity to play off of that.  Therefore, as Alyx identifies as male but doesn't possess the typical physical attributes that most males have, the X and the Y in his name are in reverse order to show that difference.

Fortunately for him, when the alien overlords came and realized this his infertility couldn't be easily rectified by noninvasive means, they decided it would be a waste of resources to try to do anything with him.  That which isolated him, making him the subject of ridicule among his peers, became an asset the day of the invasion.

That's something I like to do in my stories.  I enjoy taking characters who have been marginalized or simply feel isolated and putting them in a situation where their difference becomes an advantage.


  1. First of all, thank you for the amazing shout out! Your words mean a lot to us. :)

    Second, your process of how you chose the name and spelling of Alyx is brilliant!

  2. I have a friend that named her daughter Alyx. What a great name!

    Thanks for the awesome shout out!!!

  3. Oh wow, so much thought goes into one name! I like to think I could choose meaningful names like that, but I think I'd need to be a little smarter! :)

  4. Very interesting. Enjoyed your thought process!

  5. Contrast always makes for great drama. Nice one.

  6. How amazing to use such brilliant ideas fr naming you characters. In a sci-fi world, that is perfect. and awesome name, by the way!

  7. Wow! You put a lot of thought into the name. I don't usually put too much thought into mine, I go with whatever sounds good with other names. And I like to pick from a short list of my favorite names for my MC. ;) This is a great meme! I may have to do it for my author blog.

    Jessica @ Thoughts At One In The Morning
    ~The Book Love Giveaway Hop Sign Ups~

  8. What amazing ideas. Good job! I like the sound of it too. It's thrilling when a disadvantage becomes an advantage. When I write, sometimes I get to pick my characters' names and sometimes they name themselves. That can be annoying, but they don't let me take their names away!

  9. I love naming! You're absolutey right that it's one of the most important parts of developing a new character.

  10. Neat. :) I usually go at random, but sometimes there's a reason hidden in my subconscious, or I name people as dedication to something else.