Names! Oh My!

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What a Character! (Photo by Ben White on Unsplash)

Hilda and Jack and Jill Oh My! There is a world full of fabulous names. It makes a writer’s job harder but oh so much fun!

First here’s what happened this week. Last Thursday I was felled by a nasty little bug. It had been lurking around Milly’s Realm for a couple of weeks. Red tide came to our shores and the bug laid low as algae spewed toxins into the air.

We all spent a week coughing and feeling queasy. On Thursday the nasty bug took over Milly. I laid around trying to get my brain to operate my fingers. But sadly very little writing was done.

So what about names? I got to thinking about names as I spent about an hour fixing a  few sentences in Disrupted. I had three cops named “Smith.” Remember a week or so ago I wrote I might leave the cop partners “Smith & Smith” just for grins. Well I didn’t. I decided that would be lazy. Here is my rough draft from the NaNoWriMo Challenge (no editing just straight writing):

Smith crackled through the radio. “The deputies are setting them up now.”

The Lieutenant walked up with two men in suits. “Officer Riley this is Deputy Smith and Deputy Smith.” They shook hands as Deputy Smith asked about what the woman in the car had said. Gable filled them in with what he knew.

Here’s the rewrite:

Lt. Garcia crackled through the radio as she headed in Gable’s direction. “The deputies are setting them up now.”

The Lieutenant walked up with two State Troopers. “Officer Riley this is Trooper Sally Connelly and Trooper Bryan Merritt. They are investigating the accident as a possible vehicular homicide.” Gable shook their hands as Trooper Connelly asked what the woman in the car had said to him.

Personally I like names. They mean something. When I develop a character either the name comes to me as I write or I start looking for their name. I also look up the meanings. Background characters to the story like “Smith & Smith” are fun because I can throw together pretty much anything I feel like. Just because they are in the background doesn’t mean their names shouldn’t have meaning! The way I see it, you never know when a character in one book may move from the background to the protagonist in another book. There are no rules about that in life or my writing.

I get uneasy about names because I know a lot of people. While their name might be a match for a character in one of my stories, I ‘m not trying to model my characters after anyone in particular. Because of that I usually skip names of people I know well. The exception is really common names that hopefully someone wouldn’t take personally. I am writing fiction after all. For me my characters take on a personality all their own. I find a new character is like discovering what a new friend is really like.

I keep a list of generic names I find in life. Maybe I see it on a name tag, in a book, look them up on name websites, or anywhere. I don’t really like name generators because I can’t find meanings for most of the names generated. When something catches my attention I write the name down on a scrap of paper for consideration.

This is why it can be a struggle to name my characters, even the background players. Well, even I have to say, taking an hour to decide to pull the Lieutenant into the scene and come up with two names was extreme. I had a hard time getting “Smith & Smith” out of my head. “Too cliché” I told myself sternly. Then I got stuck on “Jones and Smith” because it made me giggle. It goes to show how much my brain was fighting the bug rather than helping me write!

After deciding on Trooper Sally Connelly and Bryan Merritt I looked up the meanings on the web. The website I used translated my characters as Lady Valiant, and Noble Gate. How cool is that for a couple of State Troopers!

I told the Eldest Prince about my find. He thought for a moment then teased, “Aw, I was hoping you’d go for Jack & Jill Smith!”

“That would have been good too!” I said through my laughter.

All in all, I did finally finish rewriting Chapter 1. As a bonus on Sunday I was able to write, and rewrite, the prologue I thought of a couple of weeks ago when I challenged myself to rewriting the book in 20 weeks or less.

On to Chapter 2!

Until next time, Milly

One thought on “Names! Oh My!

  1. Hi Milly, love the picture and the rewrite too. However, since we’re only on chapter 2 this could possibly be a long bus ride but I can see it’s going to be FUN! By the way, you probably already know this, God usually has a meaning for names too, so you’re in good company. I’ve already paid the fare to stay on the bus, so have fun and I’m enjoying the ride!

    Like

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