Tag Archive | Gabriel Lennox

Quotes to Write By – Day 29 What’s In a Name? More Than You Think!

Disclaimer: The following analysis of characters and their names are solely my opinion and conclusions I’ve drawn from being a wordsmith, character creator, and a lover of names.

williamshakespeare1

Juliet, from the play, Romeo and Juliet, speaks this famous line. She argues that it doesn’t matter that the young man Romeo whom she loves is a Montague, her family’s archenemy.

But Juliet is wrong. Names are important. Especially when it comes to creating names for characters. And on a more mundane note, who the heck would lovingly pen the name, Toilet, on their newborn baby’s birth certificate. Or Virus? Cesspool? Booger?

I read a lot of fantasy and I love when I can tell that an author put a lot of thought into creating their characters’ names. When my oldest brother read the names I had brainstormed for a book we’re working on together, I smiled until my face ached (okay, fine I’m using hyperbole) because I was pleased that he was pleased with my inventions. Creating names is a lot of fun!

Popular Character Names in Book Series

In Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, the wizard Harry Dresden’s full name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Not only is Harry’s name fun to say, but his first name is a nod to Harry Houdini, a Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer, famous for his sensational escape acts. Dresden’s also named in honor of David Copperfield, an American illusionist and magician who was born in 1956. I’m not sure about the background information on “blackstone” though. I do know that it comes from the Blackstone Group, which is a financial firm founded by two dudes in the 1980s who used the German and Greek parts of their names to create a cryptogram: “Schwarz” is German for “black” and “Peter” or “Petra” in Greek means “stone” or “rock”. Thus, “blackstone”.

HarryDresden

Harry Dresden

Another popular character in urban fantasy, is the one and only Anita Blake. I adored this series and still mourn for the style it was written in over a decade ago. I miss Anita solving crimes, raising the dead, and putting them back to rest. Her full name consists of four syllables. Her first name sounds softer and more romantic to me. Also, Anita certainly had a softer side in the beginning of the series (i.e., her stuffed animal penguin collection). Her name is derived from Sanskrit and means full of grace, mercy, favor, variety, a leader, without guile. In the series, it’s implied that her name is from the Spanish language because her deceased mother is Mexican. Her last name, Blake, is a mystery and where it is derived from is uncertain. According to Mr. Wikipedia it could come from “blac”, a nickname for someone who had dark hair or skin, or from “blaac”, a nickname for someone with pale hair or skin. Another theory is that it is a corruption of “Ap Lake”, meaning “Son of Lake”. I think this uncertainty and duality of dark and pale suits the character of Anita Blake just fine since she has gone from being a character symbolizing justice and daring not to dabble with the dark creatures of her world — vampires, for example — to not only protecting them, but doing the horizontal mambo with them every day, all day.

Anita Blake

Anita Blake

Popular Character Names in TV Series

Olivia Pope’s name is interesting. Her surname evokes images of holiness, righteousness, and power. However, one could argue that the title or word “pope” also conjures images of the exact opposite due to corruption and hypocrisy in the Catholic Church. Likewise, the character, Olivia Pope, in the television series Scandal, is a woman of contradictions.

olivia pope

Olivia Pope

As a crisis manager, her job is to solve problems for her clients who add to the existing drama in her personal life. Her first name comes from Latin and means “olive branch”. Olive branches are a symbol of peace or victory, which fits Olivia perfectly. The fictitious character of Olivia Pope is partially based on real-life crisis manager, Judy Smith. I watched the first two episodes of Scandal and couldn’t continue. There are no dragons and too much mundane drama that I avoid in the daily news. I found it tragic that Olivia, a beautiful, talented, and intelligent woman couldn’t have her happy ending. Granted, it’s her own choices that often keep her from it. Or maybe Shonda Rimes, the show’s creator, wanted to portray a realistic woman who forfeited the search for an impossible “happily ever after” and instead settled for or could be satisfied with “happy enough”? I have no idea. I like Happy Endings. That’s why I often play RPGs and live vicariously through my CGI characters. 😛

Anyway, I predicted that Ms. Pope’s slippery slope into tragedy would continue to worsen and if I became a fan my heart would most likely break. I’m all about keeping my heart intact. 🙂

Another character with a cool name is Nikita from the series (first a movie), La Femme Nikita, which is French for The Woman Nikita. Nikita. Nikita, Nikita. That’s it. No last name. And that’s all that’s needed.

Nikita

Nikita

Why? This name is loaded with goodies! Nikita is an assassin that is paired with great assets — beauty, intelligence, and the ability to kill with ease and efficiency. Her name isn’t even originally French or female. It originated as a masculine Greek name and subsequently a Russian name exclusively for males. The name has been recently adopted as a French name for girls.

 

 

 Popular Character Names in Movies

Keyser Söze isn’t the name of a breakfast bagel. And no, I’m not referring to one of Moe’s (Welcome to Moe’s), (Tex-Mex eatery — delicious!) salsa. Keyser Söze is the name of the main antagonistic and driving force in The Usual Suspects, one of my favorite movies. I won’t spoil the movie’s epic and mind-blowing twist ending for those of you who haven’t yet seen this cinematic masterpiece. Traditionally, Keyser is a last name and it’s a development of the early Germanic name “Kaiser”, which was derived from the Roman imperial title “Caesar”. In the criminal underworld, Keyser’s great skill,  ruthlessness, and reputation are of epic and mythical proportions. For example, handicapped con artist Robert “Verbal” Kint describes Keyser as “a myth, a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night. ‘Rat on your pop and Keyser Söze will get you.’ But no one ever really believes.” Poor dears. They should believe.

Keyser_Soze

Keyser Söze

Keyser may be a man of violence and enjoys spreading fear, but like some mega-villains he’s a man of his word. I looked up the meaning of the word “soze” in Turkish and was prompted to look it up in Kurdish. It means “promise“. Keyser Soze is most likely a pseudonym and a small piece of the puzzling, deceptive, and criminal world the “usual suspects” dwell in.

Speaking of the criminal world, how could I not mention John Wick? Before John Wick, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 beckoned action, thriller, and suspense lovers, I didn’t think any movie could bank on the explosions, the mystery, the gunfights, and the gloriously twisted plot that the writers of The Usual Suspects had created. During a heated and no less humorous conversation between a father and son (both elite members to the Russian maffia), important information about John Wick is revealed:

Viggo Tarasov: It’s not what you did, son, that angers me so. It’s who you did it to.

Iosef Tarasov: Who? That fucking nobody?

Viggo Tarasov: That “fuckin’ nobody”… is John Wick. He once was an associate of ours. They call him “Baba Yaga.”

Iosef Tarasov: The Boogeyman?

Viggo Tarasov: Well John wasn’t exactly the Boogeyman. He was the one you sent to kill the fucking Boogeyman.

Iosef Tarasov: [stunned] Oh.

Viggo Tarasov: John is a man of focus, commitment, sheer will… something you know very little about. I once saw him kill three men in a bar… with a pencil, with a fucking pencil. Then suddenly one day he asked to leave. It’s over a woman, of course. So I made a deal with him. I gave him an impossible task. A job no one could have pulled off. The bodies he buried that day laid the foundation of what we are now. And then my son, a few days after his wife died, you steal his car and kill his fucking dog.

The name John is Hebrew and translates to “Jehovah has been gracious; has shown favor”. And the fact that John Wick is unstoppable and for the most part untouchable seems nothing short of a miracle.  Reeves, who plays John Wick also compared Wick’s story to “[…] a kind of Old Testament revenge story” adding that, “When someone takes the things he cherishes, violence erupts and John can’t temper it.” Though the character’s last name, Wick, is a name Kolstad (the movie’s writer) had used as a reference to his grandfather, the founder of Wick Building Systems, as a fellow writer just because something is simply cool isn’t reason enough to do it. So, I did a little digging. The word wick is Old English and related to both Dutch and German languages. The best definition of the word “wick” that I discovered is:

wick1

/wɪk/

noun

1.

a cord or band of loosely twisted or woven fibres, as in a candle,cigarette lighter, etc, that supplies fuel to a flame by capillary action

2.

(Britslangget on someone’s wick, to cause irritation to a person
john wick2

The second definition is symbolic in regard to how John Wick operates in the criminal underground of assassins. Without his wife’s love, he’s like a wick or woven fiber waiting for fire to light it. In other words, there are two parts to John: his need to settle down and find happiness and the wanton desire to kill and blow things up. And the second definition, which is slang for annoying a person is poetic justice. In the first movie, John just wanted to permanently silence whoever messed with him by stealing his car and killing his dog. Cautionary advice: give him what he wants and he’ll return to his quiet self. Word to the wise: don’t bother John Wick and he’s as sweet as a lamb. 🙂

One of My Own Character Creations

From my vampire series starring the titular main character, Gabriel Lennox, I wanted to make a name that possessed sex appeal, mystery, and a firmness to it. Gabriel_ok
The name Gabriel is Hebrew and means “God is my strength”. The last name Lennox originates from Gaelic and means “lives near the place abounding with elm trees”.  Gabriel Lennox is a strong, sophisticated name and it’s also the surname of one of my favorite singers, Annie Lennox.

Fellow writers, how do you choose character names? What techniques do you use?

Adoring readers, what character names do you love or hate . . . and why?

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet with me @moniquedesir

 

 

 

Interrogated by a Vampire

When I was nine years old, I noticed a timeline counting up the years to 1999 on the walls of my elementary school. That moment, I promised myself that by the year 1999 I would be in college working towards my dream of becoming a doctor, a pharmacist, or maybe even a lawyer. Being young, dreams were attainable, reachable, because the sometimes cruel evenhandedness of life had not yet made me jaded. Being young, I didn’t know any better. Fast forward years and years later and with all of the sometimes strange and sometimes bizarre things that have occurred in my life, I could never in my wildest dreams had planned for what happened last night.
He had slipped into my home and seated himself on the loveseat below my living room window, like he owned the place. This being of mist and shadows, white roses and blood red wine wears black jeans and a navy blue and green sweater bemuses me, and confuses me. I freeze and clutch my robe around me, like some lovesick Victorian maiden. I use the word being, for lack of a stronger, more precise word, because the word man (which he clearly is) doesn’t cut it.
                My mouth opens wide, releasing a tiny gasp of surprise. “Gabriel? Gabriel Lennox?”
                He smiles, removing the gloves from his hands, but is it truly a smile? No, it’s just a flash of bared teeth. A hint of intimidation?
He spreads his arms wide in a shrug and drapes them on the back of the furniture, looking scrumptious as red velvet cheesechake. “Yes, Monique, dear. It is I. The one and only, Gabriel.” I could recognize him anywhere, like a woman recognizes the face of a long lost lover or a mother recognizes the face of her child no matter how old he has become. I have seen him in my dreams, I have directed him via computer and typed his lines, his thoughts, his secret desires, his hates, his wishes, and wants for my eyes only. And piece by piece, line by line, scene by scene, and chapter by chapter, he became more real, blooming from the fertile garden of mind into flesh and blood, body and soul. And somehow, he has been plucked like a precious, thorny rose and transplanted in my living room.
                “What are you doing here?” I ask.
                “We need to talk.” His seductively deep and husky voice, (think Benedict Cumberbatch, but better) accented with the droll spice of an English Breakfast tea, is a cliché, and as far as hot vampires go, a very much welcomed cliché. He sighs and clasps his hands in his lap. “The book. Forbidden Fruit. So, you shall allow the light of day to shine upon my story, yes?”
                I shrug. “Don’t you mean my story. After all, I did create you. It was not the other way round.”
                “Hmmm. You think so? Who is to say that it is not the other way around?”
                “Because I say so and I know so, Gabriel. Besides, don’t you want to be famous? Think of all the attention that mortals will pour upon you. Imagine the possibilities. Bad or good – what does it matter? You will become even more real. You’re a great character. Sure, you start out as a cranky, selfish, murderous, hateful, bitter, stark raving mad jerk, but you do change. Eventually. You grow into a—”
                He raises his hand and I fall silent, letting him talk. “I am thoroughly disappointed in you, Monique. I mean, truly I am.” A pained expression enhances the beautiful, soft features of his face. Oh, how I love the wonderful world of clichéd pretty-boy vampires and how their beauty masks what lies beneath.
                I smirk and sink down on the couch across from him. “Oh really? Do tell?” The coffee table serves as a joke of a buffer between us, but who am I fooling (myself)? An antique coffee table isn’t going to keep a four hundred year old vampire at bay. Oops. There’s that word: vampire. Good thing I don’t utter it out loud . . . and good thing he is not prying into my thoughts. He would have a nervous breakdown. Poor dear.
                “You are a secretive woman,” Gabriel says softly. “You rarely use your Facebook account—”
                I bolt upright, disturbed. “Hey! How did you know about that?”
                “I know everything there is to know about you, but let me finish. Do not interrupt. Please.”
                I frown and allow him to speak.
                He takes his time, raking his beautiful, long and slender fingers through his silken red hair and clears his throat. “You rarely use your Facebook account and even when you do, the heart of your most inner character does not shine through. You share no pictures of your family. And even when you do share, the information is shallow at best. You post about political issues, racial issues. You post about television shows that you find detestable. You also post about trivial, albeit humorous memes that catch your fancy and you flit thereafter about like a butterfly to the next fancy in the vast world that is Facebook. I once likened you to Emily Dickinson, a recluse who limited her more private life to a select, chosen few. But now? Now, I do not even know you!”
                I roll my eyes and stab an accusing finger at him. “Really, don’t be so melodramatic. Yes, I am an introvert, but I’m in no way a recluse.”
                “But you would be if you could.”
                “No, never.”
                He stares at me and a slow smile lifts the corners of his full, kissable mouth. “You dare to deny that you are not what one would call a recluse? You who dubbed yourself as ‘selectively antisocial’? Truly? Oh, this is . . . rich. This is so wonderfully farcical!” He tilts his head to the side and laughs. Laughs at me – the woman who created him.
 I glare at him with enough ice in my eyes to freeze a bowl of punch. “It is true that I described myself as such, but it really isn’t that funny.” I lower my eyes to my hands clasped in my lap, lost in thought. As a child, I had been friendly, kind. My mother had once said, “A tree could follow me home.” And then life happens, as it often does, and somehow my naive sweetness had dried up with the passing years. And I wielded my solitude like a two-edged sword to keep me safe. I hated to admit it, even to myself, that Gabriel was right.
Darn him.
                His green (nope, emerald – who are we kidding here?) eyes soften with what looks like compassion. “I had hoped that you would grow to be more and more like Miss Dickinson, also known as the woman in white. She was rarely seen by others. In fact, she rarely left her home and when she did venture out, she wore white. To this day, she is a legend, a myth, an intriguing mystery. That could have been you. A mystery. An enigma. Such a seductive wonder that one could meditate on. But no. Now you dare to step out into the world.”
                I say nothing and study my fingernails, which are in need of a manicure I can’t afford. The blasted nails often grow a couple of inches, stretching past the nail bed and then snap off, right at the nubs. Gabriel’s nails on the other hand are smooth, shiny, and oh so perfect. Damn him. Why did I have to create such a . . .  creature? And even if he is a monster, he has his redeeming, gentle moments, which is why I must write . . . and share him with the rest of the world and willing or no, he must acquiesce.
                “You have no right,” he murmurs. I look at him and he realize the wide eyed expression on his face is unmistakably fear. “Being for your eyes and ears alone pleased me. It was enough. Why can it not be enough for you?”
                “It’s my last name. Desir,” I reply, drawing out the syllables: dee zear. “It’s a curse. Blame my father. Desir –  it stems from the Latin word Desiderius, which translates to ardent desire or the longed for. I want what I cannot or should not have. Constantly longing, constantly wanting. Blah, blah, blah. Heck, it’s a bloody family tradition.”
                He cocks an exquisite eyebrow. “Bloody?” He gives his head a grieved shake. “Please, mind how you speak. It is not ladylike to use such offensive language.”
                “Gabriel, it’s the year 2014. Women curse and do a whole lot more. You’re going to be in for quite the culture shock, dearie.”
                “You are not cursed. What use is there to be pessimistic? Your surname is also the Greek word for “beloved”. You are loved, Monique. And as a man of extremes, I can tell you that I either love or hate individuals. Those I love, I would gladly kill for without hesitation and those I hate?” He grins, flashing white teeth. “Well, what more needs to be said?”
                “Hmm. I don’t need a personal assassin.”
                “Come now, really? Is that not one of the dark, little reasons you writers wield your pens and scrawl upon pages? To vent, to murder those who irritate you. I liken you and your ilk to literary serial killers. Even the Whitechapel murderer penned a line or two to taunt the police. Perhaps, once upon a time, you were a sweet little girl of sugar and spice and everything nice, but those days are long gone, my dear.”
                His sudden, mocking laughter, caresses me and opens hidden longings I thought long since dead. I’m nine years old again and standing in front of the time line board in an elementary school hallway, imagining myself twenty years older: married, with two children (a boy and a girl), living in a luxurious mansion and tending to a garden bursting with flowers of vibrant violets and intoxicating scents of jasmine and gardenias. I am a doctor. Or maybe a lawyer defending those who are wrongfully accused. In one word, I am successful. But then, the reality of who I am and what I am not hits me and I feel uneasy. He murmurs my name, so softly, so gently, and I resurface from my mausoleum of regrets (that nine year old dreamer, is she really dead?) and meet his gaze.
                “You are weeping. Why?”
                I wipe the tears from my face with the back of my hand, remembering that he hates to see people cry – especially women. Ah, such a valiant knight.
                “Because I’m afraid. That’s why.”
                “I thought you only cry when you are angry. Or happy. You are such a contrary woman.”
                “At times. But this is fear. I’m afraid, Gabriel. For a time, it was enough for you to exist in the recesses of my mind. It had been enough for you to simply be known amongst my family and dearest friends. Writing is like breathing air for me. Writing gives me immense pleasure and joy. And I had made a promise to myself that I would write and become published. So, I must share you.  And yet, perhaps, you were right to come and tell me to think otherwise. Perhaps . . .” my voice cuts off, strangled tight with emotion.
                He rises from his seat and sits beside me. “I suppose, if this means so much to you. I suppose, I can . . .” He rests one hand on my knee and gives it an awkward pat.
                “Thank you.”
                “But before I relinquish complete and total control, there is one thing that must be clear. Just one thing . . .”
                He leans in closer and closer . . . perhaps expecting my very breath to catch in my throat and for me to clutch the collar of my nightgown, like some silly 19th century Victorian maiden found in the pages of a penny dreadful novel, spouting maudlin lines of “If-I-had-but-known”, but no.
I’m a writer. I call the shots. I pull the strings.
                His lips, inches from mine, speak three, priceless words a mistress of dark fantasy would be proud of:
                “I don’t sparkle,” he whispers.
                I smile and kiss him on the cheek. “No, that you do not.”