Things may get a little thin around here. I've met someone. He's monopolizing my time, and it's glorious. You know how it is.
Well, if you're a writer, you do. Meeting a new character after a long dry spell is indeed a lot like falling bang in love just after you'd resigned yourself to a lifetime alone. Your heart races, you can't sleep, you can't eat, and all you want to do is spend every waking moment with them. You obsess over the slightest detail. And you discover something new about them every few moments.
I didn't want to tell you about him until I had a name. And lemme tell you, finding out his name was a pain in me arse. Some of my characters arrive on the scene fully-named; this guy didn't. So what's a writer to do? Turn to naming resources, that's what.
What's in a name? A hell of a lot. Deciding to use the link to Shakespearean names shows me that his parents are cultured and a little loopy. This guy's either going to be super-confident or a bundle of complexes from a childhood of dealing with schoolyard taunts.
But it's not as simple as just reading down a list of names and picking one at random. For some reason, Tiberius was floating through my head today. I knew it had something to do with his name, but wasn't what he was called. Middle name. Brilliant. So instead of slogging through the plays one-by-one, head over to a character list to see if Tiberius is in Shakespeare's plays. Strikeout. However, a quick trot through the intertoobz reveals there is a Shakespearean connection - he may have played Tiberius in his friend Ben Jonson's play Sejanus. That means his parents are seriously Shakespeare obsessed. Perfecto. And for the first name, Cornelius - easily shortened to Neil, present in both Hamlet and Cymbeline. At least the poor bugger gets to pretend to have a normal name.
Last name - Lancashire echoes through my head. Wrongo. Too many syllables. Dig into British surnames (as he's from Britain) and discover Leyland. Click on it and discover that Leyland is a name from, guess where? Lancashire. Genius. I've got an idea of his accent already. Use Google-fu to discover archival recordings. Oh, dear. Wrong accent, but Wikipedia tells me it's dying out. The traces of it underlying the typical cultured British accent lend precisely the right flavor. Voila.
And thus we have a name: Cornelius Tiberius Leyland, but you can call him Neil. Please call him Neil. I also know something of his family history, and that he has a healthy sense of humor. His name fits with what I knew of him already: cultured but easy-going, with a very warped idea of the world. He's a psychiatrist hired on to keep the warriors from developing severe psychological problems. After he's spent some time with my main bunch, his Parthian shot to a room full of skeptical fighters is, "You're all completely psychotic. Come see me immediately if any symptoms of normalicy develop."
I think we're all going to get along brilliantly.
I'll be posting his origin story as I write it, if any of you lot are interested. If nothing else, it might help answer the "where do you get your ideas?" question that is the bane of the writer's existence.