I’ve always found the naming of characters to be a daunting task and now in writing a comic adventure for kids, I knew I had to find the find the perfect balance. Each name had to be something unique, memorable, easy to pronounce and something that would truly fit each character. My solution…ask the kids.
Yup, between my son’s Maxton and Alec and Sara’s daughter Jillian, we came up with all the names pretty quickly. “This guy is tough, he looks tough, he’s Axel.” Maxton had said. “Goben.” Alec pointed to the bird, totally pulling that word out of absolutely nowhere. “Oona.” Jillian named the PIRATE Captain. I loved it, it was a strong name for the hot headed female feline. And on and on they went down the list of characters. It went by so fast I couldn’t believe it. Kids are great that way. They don’t carefully weigh their decisions, overthink or second guess themselves – they just know what they know and say what they say, no holds barred. Man I wish adults worked that way sometimes (and by sometimes I mean all the time).
The latest addition was this week. I’ve just started sketching out volume two and needed names for the bad guys. You know, something more than BIRD HENCHMAN ONE and BIRD HENCHMAN TWO. I asked Maxton who happened to be the closest kid within ear shot and he held up his finger, grabbed a sheet of paper, and started to draw. A few minutes later, I got, not just a name, but the design of a new character with a detailed explanation of his character. So let me iterate again how great it is to work with these little creative geniuses: within minutes I was given a fully concepted character. It was great. I took the paper, sketched out my interpretation of his drawing and sent it back for his approval, which he gave within seconds. Honestly, why can’t adults work this way?!
So, what’s in a name? I think we can all agree that the answer to that is, “a lot”. I just feel sorry for anyone trying to do it without a team of 4-7 year olds.