Thursday, May 24, 2012

When Ezzie Met Izzie

“What’s in a name?”  Juliet Capulet pondered.  For her, the name didn’t matter.  She loved Romeo despite his name. 

But for a historical story, the names do matter.  Editors will not reject a manuscript on the use of a name, but the names you choose may suggest your research prowess.  Did you choose the name because you’ve always wanted to name a child that name?   Maybe a special character in a movie?  Did you really take the time to find out if the spelling of that name was used during the time period you have chosen?
Taking accuracy into account may sound difficult, but the concept is important.  Your characters’ names should fit into the world they live.  For example, let’s say we are writing a Medieval romance.  We are not going to name the heroine Buffy.  It doesn’t work in the story and summons a number of connotations to the reader’s mind. 

When you don’t choose a name that is historically accurate, the editor may begin to question your other research.  Did she really look up that information?  Are those dates correct?  Historical authors know that research is crucial—especially when they must relate to the readers how the characters dressed, what they ate, and any other detail of their lives.  Historical editors are unique.  We know our history, and when a name doesn’t sound correct, we question it and wonder: What's really in the name?


Susan Macatee said...

Great post, Allison! When I start a new historical, I google the year my characters would have been born to see what names were popular then.

Allison Byers said...

Great idea. I've always liked the names in your books.

NicDarienzo said...

Excellent blog, Allison! I admit it when I see an historical query with a Tiffani and Brendon as the lead does make me wonder LOL.