Warning: rambling, link-heavy post follows
Woo-hoo, up to 233 screens! At this rate it will only take me 5 and a half months to finish.
Onscreen or on paper, War and Peace is daunting. And it’s not just because of the length. The Russian convention of giving everyone multiple names is what I really blame for slowing me down when I was reading the dead-tree version. Keeping track of about 165 character, each with roughly 50 names*, was taxing.
Bory is short for Boris, check. Sasha is short for Alexander…I think. And I’ve already been introduced to two Natalys, a mother and daughter…
233 screens in and everyone has some title to throw into the mix. There are a lot of princes and princesses running around. And somehow, they’re the children of counts and countesses. I thought the prince and princess titles were reserved for the children of kings and queens. So, I’ll be learning so Russian hierarchy in the next 5 and a half months.
I thought a character list might help, so I went to Wikipedia. Holy f*ck! I haven’t met a fourth of these characters. And this list only gives one of their names…I need a list of all names, titles, and diminutives.
Which brings me, in a round about way, to this post about naming characters.
Obviously, I have fallen into the use-the-same-letter-to-name-characters trap. I suppose I should be glad that I haven’t given two characters the same name.
As the post suggests, I’ve looked at census record for popular names in various regions or by date, but I usually just look at what’s around me. Like Stephen Tremp in the comments section, I tend to read books spines for name inspiration.
And remember when I was worried about not having enough characters in my scenes? According to Nail Your Novel, that’s something only a visual medium can pull off. After reading dizzying scenes in W&P, I’m tending to agree.
So, why am I battling on through all this complaining? I am interested. While I don’t have a solid foothold on who’s who just yet, there are interesting people in each scene. They tend to stand out among all the sniveling mannered people.
*nicknames, real names, title names, secret names that only oddly Dickensian street urchins know**…
**Incredibly obscure reference to an ER story arc.