Friday, November 14, 2008

Naming Names

I can relate to all this character naming stuff since I’m in the middle of the process now. My yes-I’m-really-working-on-it book is past the halfway point and there’s a big plot twist that calls for a new set of characters to take the stage.
The most important one is a German general, and the name has to match who he is and what he wants most out of life. I guess it doesn’t have to, but it does to me. So I’ve been spending way too much time researching old German names of a certain lineage, double checking to make sure that the name isn’t the same as a real WWII German general since I can only push that historically accurate historical fiction button so many times.
When it clears that hurdle I have to see if I can add a ‘von’ to the front of it. It’s not a requirement for aristocratic German families, but I like the way it looks and sounds. Maybe that goes way back to my youth when my buddy Rick and I (along with a classmate named Greg Tolin…funny how that just came back to me) were obsessed with reading everything about Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron. Or maybe it’s because of Claus von Stauffenberg, the German general behind the ill-fated bomb plot to kill Hitler. Or maybe it’s because of the great character actor Harvey Lembeck in his signature role as Eric Von Zipper in all those otherwise horrible Beach Movies.
In any case, it’s von for me.
Was it von for you?


Rick Blechta said...

Have von on me!

NL Gassert said...

Charles, I'll be glad to help with German names. Or any other German related question.

born and raised in Germany