Inspiration is everywhere! Really and truly it is! Have a look at how I designed my characters and you’ll see that it requires almost no thought at all.
Damien Gloria Day, the main protagonist of The Fifth Warrior, was created in my likeness. I wanted to write a fantasy story about a coloured South African girl, because fantasy stories about coloured South African girls are few and far between (if they even exist). I always think of Damien as a prettier, taller, non-dreadlocked version of me.
Her name is a nice little story. Damien is a variation of my surname, Damon. I chose Gloria because I wanted her to have the same middle initial as me (my second name is Glenda). And the surname, Day, I got from an issue of Blunt Magazine that featured a local skateboarder, Adrian Day. I like alliteration, and Damien Day has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
But creating and naming Damien was the simplest thing in the world. It was while creating my other characters when I realised that I am far too lazy for my own good.
See, I knew the Elemental Warriors were four young men, but since they are the world’s most worshipped heroes, I couldn’t make them ordinary. Without them, I had no story. They couldn’t look like every other Tom, Dick and Harry on the planet. The answer to my problem was right in front of me. Literally. I looked up at my beautiful poster of Bullet For My Valentine…
… And thought, “Hmm… four Warriors… four metal heads… I’ve got it!” and the rest is history.
Matthew Tuck inspired Matthew Taylor, in looks and name. I later modified my Matthew, and made his hair blondish and his eyes green.
Michael Paget became Naylka Nalazar, whose name is complete and total gibberish. Naylka is tall and fresh-faced, but this is how he started out.
Michael Thomas inspired Samuel Thompson, whose name was the plainest name I could think of at the time. Sam now has jet-black hair and vivid blue eyes. He is short and withdrawn.
And Jason James… well… I didn’t want Bullet For My Valentine to sue me or anything, so I skipped him.
Thanks Bullet For My Valentine, I will love you forever!
The fourth Warrior, Jimmy Jackson, was named after Jimi Hendrix and Michael Jackson. He is tall, skinny, and has blond dreadlocks that reach just below his bottom.
Kurt Day was named after Kurt Cobain, and his associate, Frances Nygard was named after Mathias Nygard from Turisas– another metal band I love.
My book is filled with characters named after rock stars. How did this happen? Was I really that lazy? Or is it just that I was surrounded by music, as I always am, and so drew inspiration from one of the things I love most?
Most fascinating is my favourite character of them all: Marshall Frost.
I took one look at Matthew Bellamy:
And that was that. Right down to the suspenders.
There was one problem though; he needed a name. I couldn’t name him Matthew after Matthew Bellamy because Matthew was already named after Matthew Tuck.
Do you know what I named my favourite character after?
I named him after this:
Yes. My greatest character is named after an amplifier.
Later, I found this gem on the interwebs:
Marshall went without a surname for quite some time. It got to a point where he needed one, and I, being lazy, grabbed the dictionary, flipped through it with my eyes closed, pointed at the page, and landed on Frost.
It stuck. And I love it.
How do you name your characters? How much time do you spend on their design? Which name or face are you most proud of? Let me know in the comments. Also, have a great day!
Bullet For My Valentine- panicposters.com
Matthew Bellamy- polyvore.com
Marshall Amp- marshallamps.com
Matt & Marshall- guitarfxdepot.com