“How did you name your characters in Gone Dragon?”

Just yesterday someone asked me this very question. It’s a funny thing, looking at the characters and creatures in Gone Dragon. Their names seem to just fit nowadays. Some I named years ago when I first began writing and others evolved later on. Today though, they all seem to be a fixed part of their personalities.

I remember at times I would stop writing – right in the middle of a good session of creating ranting – because I needed a name. On more than one occasion I was stuck - unsure what to write. I would sometimes spew out a jumble of letters like: ‘sdlgkjhaslgkjh’, then try to see a name within the jumble…

“Slakaskikh?...”

“Slaskikh?...”

“Slashîk?...” That one sounds good! 

But not all names were shaped like that. Some were way more personal. Such as ‘Sarah.’ This name was special for me. I took it from a favourite Fleetwood Mac song of the same name. Check out Sarah here!. And what of Sarah being a gypsy? From another much loved Fleetwood Mac song - 'Gypsy'. This is often how characters are shaped for me - imagined out of a song or melding of several names into one.

Other names take the shape of what I think look like classic fantasy names, chosen for their aesthetic value. Such as ‘Färgd’. Gosh, I just like the look of 'Färgd', don’t you? I think the use of an umlaut gives it a noble style, which suits Färgd as he is the oldest and wisest of the fire dragons. As for Färgd’s pronunciation… I’ll leave that up to you!

“So what are your favourite names in Gone Dragon?”

For me, choosing a favourite is tricky. Each name is shaped for a given character and whichever character I am writing about is my favourite in that moment.

I guess an important name is Magnus. The name Magnus a Latin word meaning 'great'. It became popular among Scandinavian royalty back in the Middle Ages. Here, more than a dozen kings with the forename 'Magnus' ruled between the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Livonia. 'Magnus' has a strength to it that attracted me and so the protagonist of Gone Dragon became Magnus!

But here’s a funny fact. To this day, whenever I write ‘Magnus’ as I’m pounding out the worlds on my computer, I seem to capitalise the first two letters so it comes out as: MAgnus until I re-read it and go, “Ah! Not again!” as I correct it! (EDIT: I worked out how to create shortcuts and so I've created shortcuts for the common names I use! Now I just have to remember to use them).

I’d really like to know what your favourite names are!

Click here (or Right Click & select 'Download') to open a printable PDF version of this Journal entry.

Happy Reading!

T.P. Sheehan