These Entrails Are For Arkem (or, What Would You Call a REMARKABLY Drunk Wizard?)

Posted on 21/08/2011 by


So, I’m still wrestling with the names of the characters in Wizards, although now at least I have placeholder names that don’t cause massive cognitive dissonance. …hasn’t stopped me banging my head into the table when I try to talk about them to people though. It’s very hard to have a conversation about a character when you refer to them as, ‘Jamie, he’s the one who was Not-Harry, but he’s not really because that’s a terrible name, or I don’t know, doesn’t feel right, what do you think? Gah!’ [head->desk].

Apparently I hang an awful lot of characterisation off names. I mean, I can’t handle using names of people that I know (don’t know how Scalzi does it). I’ve had to actually change character names when I met people who had them. Threw my brain off entirely.*

I also realised that whenever I’ve changed a character in any significant way I’ve also changed their name (although apparently in my head swapping a character’s gender doesn’t count as a major change, which is interesting).

Which goes with the fact that I’m not totally sure if the wizard is a boy or a girl. I mean, ‘wizard’ tends to be a masculine form but in Path I used ‘witch’ for both genders. No reason I couldn’t do the reverse here.

I’m actually sort of happy that my brain’s not totally sure on this point (even if it’s leaning boy-wards) because generally I conjure male characters almost twice as often as female ones.

I spent my formative (at least in a writerly sense) years surrounded almost entirely by guys — teenage guys and then guys in their early twenties, flailing their way through life, trying to figure out what day of the week it was, the meaning of life, and whether the girl on the other side of the lecture theatre was looking at them.** And for whatever reason that means kinda-goofy-young-adult-guy is the beginning template for an awful lot of my characters.

And while there is really enough of me in my characters already, I wouldn’t mind if a few more girls cropped up from time to time.

In any case, I thought I’d draw on the multiplicity of your brains for assistance, if I can? What’s a name where the short form is longer than the long form? (As in Charlie for Charles or Jamie for James.) Or, what would you call a remarkably drunk wizard (boy or girl)?


* Makes me wonder if my current affection for X-Men: First Class is simply due to the fact that I had a preexisting fondness for the names ‘Erik’ and ‘Charles’. Well, Eric and Charlie, anyway.

** Such as the one who suggested this post would be enlivened by the inclusion of more entrails.