by L.T. Getty
GENRE: Sword and Sorcery/Fantasy
Koth’s life was decided for him since before he was born, for his ability to heal wounds by touch is rare even among his people. When an attempted kidnapping turns to sacrificial murder, he embraces vengeance and the sword. As he journeys far from his small isolated village in the north, he learns the truth as to why his bloodline is targeted by strange magic, in a world still rebuilding from a time when dark sorcerers didn’t bother with secrecy.
Koth thinks his quest is straightforward enough–find the men responsible, and kill them–and any who aid them. He will soon learn that those who have both privilege and power, there are few things they lack–and in the pursuit of godhood, their allies can prove even more sinister as mere mortals seek to advent empires and dynasties.
“Something’s wrong,” Una said. “Koth, wait here.”
“Why?” If there was a problem, she should be waiting outside for him.
He sensed inside, his aunt’s thoughts remained hidden from him. Una shouted, and he ran inside the building. He thought there were lights on inside, but he saw no candles.
The tea house was very dark, and he felt a sudden dread—he wanted to leave. Baro barked from the outside. ~Una!~ he thought, before something hit his neck.
He knew at once it was a poison dart, and ripping it out he tried to smell what it was. Seeing metal reflect moonlight and he moved his hand, his skin cut. Moving instinctively out of the way, his next reaction was to purge the toxin that coursed through his body and tried to understand the wound. It was mostly his forearm, deep but he could still use it, the bone unaffected. He’d do a better healing later. He focused on something not unlike a burn before going for the knife at his hip. Striking 85 in the next liquid motion, Koth realized he was attacking his aunt.
She grabbed onto his injured flesh and seared it, destroying, weakening the sinew and the cartilage and causing it to age and die, following up the bloodstream, to find the heart and kill. Koth tried to brace; he couldn’t heal and keep her at bay. He was physically stronger and much heavier, but she was weakening his muscles. He tried to wrench the knife from her.
He knocked the blade to the ground then tried to lock minds with her to find nothing short of blinding pain take him over, wrestling him to the ground and making him drop his knife. She took the dagger and when he tried to force himself up, a familiar sense washed over him. Magic, but not coming from Una.
“Do not kill him yet,” Yeshbel said, “we will bleed him first.”
What’s in a Name?
A Quick Guide to Naming Characters
From L. T. Getty
Players: Scarlet (my niece; 14) Me (me; 30-something)
Scarlet: You know, I originally thought Sean’s name was Seth.
Me: You never heard me say it before I gave you a copy of the book. How-
Scarlet: You spelled it funny. S-H-A-W-N is how I spell Shawn.
Me: You can spell it S-H-A-U-N too
Scarlet: That’s weird. I like how my parents chose to spell my name. Dad told me the Italians would have pronounced it Scar-let-ee if there was two T’s at the end.
Me (Lying): You know your real name was supposed to be Charlotte…
Scarlet (Aware of my nonsense): HAHA I hate that name!
There’s more to naming a character than I can go in for an alleged quick guide, so don’t treat this like a full discussion so much as a launching point. Writers often need to come up with a name that’s both unique and memorable yet doesn’t stand out weird to the reader or the world.
My first suggestion is to collect lists of names. I have extensive lists on Pinterest.
It doesn’t matter that you need them now, you may need them later. Once you have these lists, if you need a quick placeholder name, consult the list. Agonize and think about it later. Boho names, popular names, names that aren’t popular, that sort of thing. Consider the age and the era you’re writing in. Names come in and out of popularity and, just because you know a lot of geriatrics with names like Earl, Mabel, and Gladys, doesn’t mean they were born middle-aged.
I like to have meaning behind my names, if at all possible.
Daphne from The Mermaid and the Unicorns seems like a bit of an outlier compared to other merfolk. I have merfolk named Oshiera, Moana, Nadia, Athena, and twins named Marco and Pollo. Daphne in Hebrew means Victory, but in Greek it means Laurel Tree. Sounds like a weird choice for the character, unless you know Greek Mythology. The earliest story about a character named Daphne is about a nymph who was changed into a laurel tree to avoid the affections of Apollo. Daphne’s transformed from mermaid, human, then back again several times towards the ends of the book, so as opposed to the literal meaning I decided on Daphne knowing that some readers would to be familiar with the myth. It’s not spelled out, it’s subtle and hints that this mermaid will be transformed.
In Witchslayer’s Scion, the name for the character Elza sounds very close to Disney’s Elsa, and I suspect they made a similar choice that I did. The old Hebrew word for god is ‘el’. Elza is technically a variant of Elsa, which is a shortened form of Elizabeth, but I wanted to utilize additional meaning. Elza is basically a ‘god-za’ or a variant of a goddess, which hints not only that she has powers, but what my mages are aspiring toward.
Take feedback seriously about names, but not too seriously
In Garnet and Silver, Bethany Pelshmidt’s original name was Elizabeth Pelshmidt. In my original draft I was calling her Lizzy, but in subsequent drafts I changed it to Betty. My sister’s middle name is Elizabeth, and she was snippy about the “Betty Getty” joke from the time she was born. I love the name Elizabeth because you can go with so many nicknames: Betty, Lizzy, Liz, Sissi, Eliza, Beth. This wasn’t a bridge for me to die on, so I changed the name to Bethany.
The reason I bring this up is you might have a perfect name for a character in your draft and then your cousin has a baby and she want to name the baby the same perfect name. If your cousin (or more importantly, your aunt) doesn’t care, that’s all well and good. I’m saying you’re probably going to have to consider renaming this character. An easy out if their name is important, is to make them go by a middle name. Let’s pretend naming that character Elizabeth was an all-important plot point. Her middle name is Dana, I’d have all the characters call her ‘Dana’ or a nickname like “Gidget” and hide that her real name is X with a few low-key references in the narration. In this instance, I would make reference to her slapping her Beginner’s Driver’s License down and then having another character remark, “I keep forgetting Dana is really your middle name” and then another look confused, then have another character ask so it feels organic.
Consider how popular that name is, and if there’s any connotations
My name is Leia and I was named after a Star Wars character.
I’m not saying you can’t name your space opera heroine Leia, but it’s not that common of a name. I’d recommend something like Leah or Leta or Leda.
Some names are so common it’s okay to reuse them. No one confuses Bruce Banner with Bruce Wayne.
I would be to be really careful with names that sound similar in the same story unless there’s historical president for it (Henry the VII, for instance, had six wives, three of which were a variation of Catherine and two of which were an Anne and an Anna). Clearly if this is meant to be a joke you can play with it, but if I introduced sisters Luna, Lucille, and Lucinda, unless we are going to spend a lot of time with one or all of them this is going to confuse the reader.
Things to Look Out For
My first novel used a lot of Gaelic names, and a lot of my readers felt very intimidated by them. An audience who is familiar with these names wouldn’t be put off by them at all, so know your audience.
A side note, is that if you’re writing historical fiction, spelling wasn’t standardized until about the time of Shakespeare, so if you feel like it, you can have phonetic spellings of a character name. In Tower of Obsidian, I ultimately chose the name Aoife for one of the main character, and I spent most of a year pronouncing it Oy-fff until I did my research. In consultation with an editor at a blue pencil session, she pointed out that there would have been nothing wrong with me referring to Aoife as Effa throughout the prose. I felt fairly confident about the spelling as Aoife is still a relatively common name in Ireland today, so I decided to go with the technical spelling. Just be aware, that if an audience is unfamiliar with the name, they may pronounce the name wrong in their heads.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
L.T. Getty is a rural paramedic from Manitoba. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy and generally being creative.
Amazon (American): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B096LXWJM6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1
Amazon (Canadian): https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B096LXWJM6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1
L.T. Getty’s Blog: https://ltgetty.ca/
L.T. Getty will be awarding a $25 GC, of the winner’s choice, to an online bookseller to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway