Thursday, November 15, 2012

Literary names and updates

I was thinking recently that someone ought to, if there wasn't already, make a study of the function of names in literature. In an odd instance of synchronicity, it seems that that book is here: Literary Names: Personal Names in English Literature by Alastair Fowler, reviewed in the London Review of Books (linked).

Several readers have noticed that I take a suggestive or descriptive approach to names in The Raven's Seal. This is not just a Dickensian technique, though Dickens was a master namer, but a way to tag or expose something about a character that can be wonderfully evocative. In fact, there are several buried clues to character in The Raven's Seal that I'm waiting for an astute reader to notice, but even if they remain unseen, they add something to the texture and sense of a character.

There is a very warm review of The Raven's Seal on the historical novels society site, and in this guest post for the Historical Fiction Society I write a little about composing The Raven's Seal and the way historical details were brought into and shaped the story.