Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What's in a name?

Gaidhlig Word of the Day: piseag. "kitten" (Male MC ends up calling Elspeth this sometimes, as a pet name - no pun intended.)

Probably the biggest thing holding me back at this point is finding a name for the male lead. I need to settle on a clan for him, and it needs to be one of the clans near Loch Awe in the late 1600's. And I need a given name for him. Knowing who he is will really help me get far with regards to advancing the story. I mean, I have a lot of ideas of his personality and character, but now I need a social position.

I had originally thought the name Andrew would be nice. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, after all. But you never hear of men in Scotland named Andrew. Odd.

The thing is, there were a really small handful of names that everyone used. And every time I hear one, I think of another character in another book. It's worse than trying to pick out a name for a baby!

Ooh, great site I found that helped with this: www.whatsinaname.net
They specialize in Scottish names and the Gaidhlig variants.

Ok, fine. Names tended to be re-used in families. I believe the historical figure I'm going to call great-grandfather for my male MC was Alasdair. That's the Gaidhlig form of Alexander. Dim. form is Ailig or Alec/Alex. I can handle that. Hmmm...Colin? I just like it. Makes a good middle name.

So, at this point it's looking like my male lead will be (fanfare, please):

Alasdair (Alexander) Colin MacGregor, aka MacAlpin, aka Fletcher, aka Coleman, aka ...

Yeah, MacGregor. Not like Rob Roy. Distant cousins, maybe, but Rob Roy was from the Glengyle branch, and my guy's from Glenstrae. This is, however, during the time of the proscription. Which gets my guy into Very Big Trouble later in the book when he's overheard claiming the MacGregor name. (cue ominous music) I may throw Malcolm in there somewhere (another very common MacGregor name) and/or whatever I decide is his mother's family name.

Wow, I was gonna post more but it's getting late. I didn't get any more written today, but I did get some good research done (on clothing, especially) and [I think] a name pinned down. We'll see how I like it over the next few days. I had meant to jot down a quick outline of the plot I have in mind thus far, but I didn't get to it. I'm a "chunk" writer, but now that I have a basic plotline it can't hurt to write it down. If any random chunks that aren't on the outline show up, I'll just modify and fit them in. *g*

My evening "book time" seems to be taken over by research every night. I actually write better in my office at work (go figure). So I might start using evenings for research primarily (and writing if a really good scene comes to me) and just take my lunch hour at work to write. We'll see how it goes.

Oh, and one last thing. I got DH's approval for Surrey. I booked a room. I've not finalized my decision to go yet, but better safe than sorry. I've already spent a lot of money this year, and I'm somewhat ashamed of our lack of savings at the moment. And the trip would not come cheap. But I really, really want to go, and it will be very good for me this early in my writing. To be determined...

1 comment:

Jon said...

Haha, "Loch & Awe". Yeah, jokes like that amuse me.

If it makes you feel any better, for generations among the Hill family, firstborn males alternated being named James and John.

Heh, the chain was was, incidentally, broken with Miss Jennie Hill's brother, Andrew.