What’s in a Name?

I have a confession. I hate naming things in my stories. I hate naming characters, I hate naming places and I hate naming anything else I invent. That’s unfortunate because my favorite genre to write is fantasy so I essentially have to name everything but I hate it. My main character in my Sureshot trilogy is “Durbar.” I hate the name now. It sounds dumb to me at this point. And how did I ever come up with a name I secretly hate? In the first ever roll playing game I played, another guy named the character for me. He said it was a word in old High German or something. It’s stuck now. Then I studied Russian and Serbian and Croatian besides the years of German I studied and my mind was filled with all sorts of sounds that might be forged into a name. Where did the name of the main city in The Sureshot, Harmon, come from? It was the brand name of a set of speakers at the work station I sat at while I began writing my stories. Yeah, not exciting is it?

And since those early names I’ve toyed with all sorts of ways to make names. At one point I built these extensive random roll charts that could help me make random names. A number of the names in The Sureshot are the result of those charts. It worked but it also created dramatic and entirely foreign names that even I had trouble pronouncing.

Besides that I’ve taken to looking up the rosters of baseball teams from a hundred years ago, there are some gems there, or World Cup soccer rosters from decades ago. And when I want the name of a town I often use Google maps to look around the world for an appropriate name to use in a story. But really? I still hate naming things.

But I suppose this is simply a problem with never being happy with the name choices I make. After all, I live in a city called “Fresno.” Allegedly it is the word for Ash tree in Spanish but I’ve never confirmed that. It doesn’t roll off the tongue some some majestic name though does it? so maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

Oh well, Durbar the Sureshot will live now forever in the pages of the stories I wrote. Still I wonder if he likes his own name. And since that is entirely up to me as his creator, and since I’m a bit dissatisfied with it, then I suppose he wishes he was named something less bland. Sorry, buddy.

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