Monday, August 25, 2008

Tell me your name...

It's funny how we associate certain names with certain personalities. Names that were common male names in other eras are considered female names now. Names that were indicative of brawny macho masculinity are now thought to indicate wimpy nerdiness. Solid old boy names like Bob and George and Harry are now reserved for... well for solid old guys.

When naming a character we as writers can use some of those characteristics as a type of short hand to tell our readers something about the character. Orrrr, we can cast our character opposite of expectations by naming them something unexpected. Orville doesn't immediately strike one as the heroic type. Hmmm. Let's see what we could do with that. Orville.

First, though, let's give him a last name. There again, surnames tell a story. So, with Orville as a first name, a sturdy old-fashioned first name, we can go two ways. Stick with a down the middle of the road surname like Smith or Jones--or go for something a little more unusual. What shall it be? For myself, I just never seem to stick with the norm so I think that Orville's surname is... Peskowitz. There ya go. Orville Peskowitz.

Now what do we know about Orville? What do you suppose Orville looks like? I believe that Orville has sandy blond hair just long enough to wear in a clubbed pony tail, kind of like that guy in The Princess Bride. His eyes are chocolate brown...a deep dark chocolate. Yummm. Orville is almost six feet tall, but not quite. He has a barrel chest and excels at shot put in his spare time. He renovates old houses for a living and is particularly skilled at carpentry. Oh yeah. The important stuff. He's solvent, intelligent, patient, and single.

Now about that name... he was named Orville after his maternal grandpa. And Grigori after his paternal grandpa. So with a name like Orville Grigori Peskowitz, what do you suppose his friends call him? Anything he wants them to call him! Mostly they call him Orgi, a holdover from a little publicized event from high school. Nope, he doesn't want to discuss it at all. While the nickname lives on as a reminder of immaturity, he's all grown up now and past the foolish choices of the teen years.

Orgi drives a truck. Blue, Ford 150 with a matching cap on the back. He wears jeans, white tee shirts and loves cowboy boots.

There ya go. Whatcha think? I can guarantee you won't likely run into another hero character named Orville...

Anny

16 comments:

  1. This is a very interesting take. Just think of the shock when the reader is first introduced only to the NAME and then gets to meet the hunky and oh-so-handy guy...you DID say he was good with his tools. RIGHT???

    Very good, Anny!

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  2. that is just so twisted i absolutely love it.

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  3. Orgi sounds very good to me. :-)

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  4. Hi, Anny -- your blog topic caught my attention -- because that's the title of one of my books!

    Right now, my protagonist's name is Foster -- but everyone calls him Fozzie. Doesn't sound too 'macho hero', but it suits him. And I had a hero named Randy once, too. I hate 'conforming'.

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  5. LOL, Anny you are a classic story-teller with an unusual twist. I love how your brain works and I'd love to see a story about Orgi. Whatdoyasay? Oh, and can we get rid of the topper and put on a flatbed cover? Something about toppers totally turns me off and makes me think of fish smells and bait and spiders and grandpa. Personal trigger. ;)

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  6. Love Orgi:)

    I once named a female character Jodi, and later discovered that the person the story was loosly based upon was actually dating a 'Joe D'. Weird!

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  7. I spend lots of time picking out meaningful names for my characters. The last name of one of my hero's was Swann. He was reincarnated and in the Celtic belief system swans are often used as the symbol of reincarnation. Thought it was pretty cool at the time.

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  8. Love Orville. Names are funny, aren't they?

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  9. Names are suggestive of a personality! ( remember Uriah Heep from Charles Dickens?)
    And then you have Italian or Southern sounding names you can use for a mafioso character ( Carlos, Marcos)

    Orville sounds like Place name! ( like Nashville)
    I wonder if Orgi likes orgy!?!

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  10. Names are tough. I like Sherrilyn Kenyon's book, The Writers Digest Character Naming Sourcebook to give me ideas on first names and surnames. Liked your post Anny. I'm running through other names beginning with "O".

    Kathy www.kathykulig.com

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  11. Hey, Mona--Orville actually is a place name: it's a small town in Ohio. There may well be others scattered around, too.

    I keep wanting to make popcorn cracks, though.

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  12. Hmm. Orville! Only yo, Anny, with the wild and crazy imagination. You're right, it would be a hoot to sue a name like Orville (although eprsonally I like Orgi) for a macho alpha hero. My problem is I tend to think in a straight line with names. The more macho the better. Colt, Cole, Dallas, Cord, Zane, Zach, Mac..well, you get the idea. wjhat a challenge to come up wiht something like Orgi and make it work. yo rock, Anny.

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  13. i love how you came up with that. this why you are a writer and i am not. lol :)

    imagination:

    anny-100 ciara-zilch

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  14. Sorry, Anny, but no matter what you tag on to Orville, it doesn't work for me. How about Percy? A good old English name? Percy Mallingham? No? I like ordinary names for my heroes, like Douglas, Harry (my brother's names)You had fun with Orville. I picture him as a rather thin and angular, with a wispy goatee and ... Poor Orville, forgive me.

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  15. Orgi sounds like my kind of man. I especially like the looks with the white tee shirt and cowboy boots - a REAL man. Maybe we could fish together, or was that do something fishy together. Whatever, love the fantasy of the name. Good job.

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  16. Great post, Anny. Oddly enough, I like the idea of a hero named Orville. :D

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