Naming Names

Writers have long enjoyed paying tribute to family and friends by naming characters after them or even giving those characters some of their traits. Sometimes it’s done with the utmost affection, sometimes it’s done with a gleam of mischievousness.  This is different from drawing on real personalities for the purpose of satire or criticism, it’s instead a charming tribute. Since writers draw from experience, it is inevitable they’ll use elements from their immediate environment.

However, sometimes naming and creating characters is of a more deliberative nature. Both Stewart Sternberg and Lois Gresh, authors of the two most recent ESP releases, The Ravening and Blood and Ice actually had contests for readers to become included in their work.  For The Ravening, Stewart Sternberg conducted a trivia contest at a convention and the winner was named and used as a minor character, who would later be eaten. Lois Gresh ran a contest through the net, cautioning the winner that she (or he) might have his (or her) blood drained.

Some might think this is a corruption of the writing process and a commercialization of art. Stewart Sternberg and Lois Gresh might both offer instead, it’s just having fun.

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