Sunday, July 6, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger - Kimberley Payne

Welcome to Monday! And Welcome to Kimberley Payne, author and motivational speaker. She's a member of The Word Guild, and I had the pleasure of meeting Kimberly this spring at a writer's conference. She has a bright smile, tons of energy, and loads of good ideas about how to find the right name for your fiction characters.

Through her work, Kimberley hopes to inspire people to live healthier lives that glorify God. Visit her Website at

There are lots of downloadable goodies at Kimberley's site, so be sure to check it out.

Fit for FaithThis book unites physical health and spiritual health through a 7-week program to lose weight and develop a deeper relationship with God. It is a reference on cardiovascular exercise, strength training, prayer, healthy eating, Bible study, flexibility exercise and journal writing.

A Name is Just a Name (or is it?)

He called me, “Heather with the laughing eyes.” Although my name is actually Kimberley, the name my Dean called me the night we played shuffleboard in the campus games room was a name that I adopted in my heart.

20 years later, I christened the main character in my work-in-progress novel, Blind Trust, with the name Heather Williams. Heather’s last name comes from a Welsh/German background that means, “By following the truth.”

In Bible times, names had significance. They usually indicated a personal or physical characteristic or related incident to the birth of the child. When Sarah was ninety years old, God told her that she and Abraham would finally have a child. Sarah named her first-born Isaac, which means “He laughs” because she laughed when God told her she would bear a child in her old age. Isaiah’s name means “The LORD saves,” and Eve means “Life-Giving”. God changed the names of Sarai to Sarah, Abram to Abraham and Saul to Paul – just to name a few. This was to show that they were new creations and somehow changed after their encounter with God.

The names of Bible characters and saints have become popular in our society today. Leading all saints names are Mary, William, and John. My brother named his firstborn son, Benjamin, which means “Son of My Right Hand.”

When writing fiction, it’s important to choose a name best suited to your character. I named the antagonist in my novel, Rod Kramer. Both his first and last name give the reader a glimpse into his character. Rod is short for Roderick, “Famous Power” and his surname comes from Irish/German ancestry. There are a number of websites on the Internet that offer anything from the origin and meaning of the name to popularity rank by year.

Baby name books make a wonderful gift for bewildered parents hunting for the perfect name for their baby. They also work wonders for writers who are looking for the exact name that will fit the personality of their characters.

So before you name your heroine or villain, make sure you know her history and choose the perfect name that holds true to her character.

Kimberley (forest clearing) Jane (God is gracious) Theresa (of the harvest)
I love talking about names. When my husband and I were choosing names for our son, and later our daughter, we spend so much time bouncing names around, looking up meanings, running them past family and friends.
While naming a character isn't quiet as exciting as naming your child, it's still pretty wonderful. Unless it's not working.
Have you ever had a character who defied naming? You switched names around, renamed, and renamed, but nothing stuck? I have. I finally got the feller named, but it was after a process that lasted several months.
Share your character naming story, or ask Kimberley a question.
I, Bonnie (pretty) Elaine (bright light) Grove (forest), bid you good writing.


Joanna Mallory said...

Thanks for this, Kimberley. Choosing the right name for our characters is important -- sometimes they resist re-naming. I speak from experience. Carol refused to become someone else, so Carl had to turn into Eddie. They were in the same story, that would have been way too confusing.

I now have a master spreadsheet of names, and the stories in which they appear. I can sort by first name, surname or story to be sure I don't have names that are too similar.

Joanna (God is gracious) Mallory (Luckless?? hey, I don't appreciate that! I guess I'll have to depend on God's grace instead of my own luck, which come to think of it sounds like the best choice anyway)

A different site said Mallory="war counselor" -- not sure I like that either.

Kimberley Payne said...

Hey Joanna,

Isn't it fun to find out the meanings of names? Ideally it's best to do it before we name our children and our characters. :)