Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What's In A Name?

Well, I was going to write about stripping in front of the computer today, but let's just leave that for later, shall we?

For Heaven And Hell, names have been a big thing, and some of them have come easy, others more difficult. My two lead characters have surnames that came easy, but choosing a first name was a bit harder. In other cases? One of the characters is a Mossad agent by the first name of Sabra. Her name was a very simple pick, and it still feels right.

Another character that was a bit challenging in a different way was Jacob Dayan. I knew Jacob would have to be his first name, but for awhile when I was doing research, I was thinking of him as Jacob Cohen. Reasonable name, right? The problem is that name is the real name of Rodney Dangerfield. Which I found out the hard way while googling the name. And my immediate reaction was to change the name. Given where I'm taking the character, there's no way I'd use that name.

Zaira is another matter. Her name was originally going to be Sohalia. It's a lovely name, and I've always liked it... but it's from India. It's not Arabic. So that one went out the window. Zaira means rose in Arabic, and given that I was already titling her introductory chapter as Desert Rose, so it was perfect.

Which brings us to the other two matters at hand. One of them I just only decided on last night. The director of Mossad appears in the book on a few occasions, but I'd been going back and forth on names. Until now, it hasn't been that much of an issue. My decision? Gideon, from the Old Testament leader. A warrior, a leader, and a bright man. It fits this man perfectly.

And the other matter? A name for my terrorist group. Yes, terrorism is front and center in this. I'm not trying to write a Giller Prize winner about rising up from the ashes of sorrow here. The book's a thriller.

Now, without giving too much away, my terrorist group has to be enigmatic. Their motives, their grouping, it has to be a mystery to the world's law enforcement and intelligence communities. This isn't Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, or Hamas.

I had considered taking the word revenge and translating it into another language for the group's name. I had thought of just using the term The Union. That one, however, happens to be the name of a group of baddies in some James Bond novels, so that's out. I've since decided on The Covenant. That word at its very heart can be defined as an agreement. Which suits my characters. And it's got a certain enigmatic quality, so it stays as is.

Anyway, as I titled this, what's in a name? A great deal. Now, just to make sure that Gideon Cohen isn't someone of note, because then I'd look really silly, wouldn't I?

Oh, stop that. I can hear you laughing. Yes, you.

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