What’s in a Name?

So I haven’t really revealed much of anything about the fictional character that I created and the world in which that character lives. I am trying to keep things vague because I don’t really want to talk about something that might end up changing as the writting process plays itself out. However, I’ve decided to talk about one aspect of my character and that is their name.

The name will give away the gender but that’s okay as well. The name of the character is actually the first thing that popped into my head. It was like I had been introduced to them for the first time and then I had to try and learn about who they were as a person. I think having the name come to me first was benefitial because I could think about my character in the same way I think about someone I have actually met.

My character’s name is Jillian Cage. My friend Melissa is not going to be surprised at all by my choice of first name. I have always had a fondness for women’s names that start with the letter J and out of all of them I like Jillian or Jill the best. If I had a daughter I would like to name her Jill. I think it is a great name. Some might call it ordinary but I prefer to think of it as a classic.
It suits my character as well. Much as I consider myself to be from the old school, I sort of see my character in the same light. I picture her in my head as being someone who would groan at a name like North West or any of the other wacky names people foist upon their children these days without regard for psychological scarring down the road.

The last name is sort of an homage to the Mortal Kombat character of Johnny Cage. As I used google to see how common a name Jillian Cage is these days, I played around with the spelling. I tried Kage, Kaige and even went away from that and tried Gage. Ultimately though, I decided that my first choice was the best choice and decided to stick with it. I see my character being asked about Johnny Cage quite a bit much to her own annoyance. So that’s something.

As a man who readily admits to having issues with understanding women, you might think that writing a female character would make me nervous. Actually the fact that my first character is a woman is not the least bit surprising to me. I prefer stories about the heroine to stories about the hero. Some might disagree but for me I think there are more interesting avenues to explore with a female protagonist than a male.

I don’t know how other people come up with names for their characters and at what point in the writing process they do so. I wonder about that sometimes because I’m a fan of two different book series that have featured characters named Jack Morgan and I’m sure there are probably more.
I figure it is safe to give the name of my character away because that’s all I have given away. I haven’t talked anything about the world in which she lives, who her friends are, what her personality is like, what she does for a living or whom she must tangle with. I also haven’t given a character description. Anyone could steal the name but that wouldn’t be character theft.

I think that this might be the last I say in a public place for awhile about Ms. Jillian Cage. I’m still working out the details of her physical description. As I was thinking of that. This could be interesting as being visually impaired I sometimes struggle with descriptive termonology. I think this will be a challenge for me especially when describing scenery and describing things that I myself have never seen. That might be a discussion for another day, however. The thought of tackling this one issue is a large reason why I wouldn’t object a collaboration with someone else as I develop this idea just to get this aspect right.

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