Wednesday, May 21, 2008

For The Love Of The Name

I've been poking around in my notes, searching for the right name for a new character. She's a bit silly and brash, but her heart's in the right place. The poor girl isn't aware that folks go out of their way to avoid her. Mostly because every word she says is the truth. Her social skills evaporated early in life, but it doesn't make her less attractive to one peculiar man in town. She's the town misfit. The woman that's never asked to parties, church events, or to join the literary league. All because she calls it as she sees it. To say the truth hurts in Hillsville, is mildly stated.

I love this character. I'm attracted to her innate desire to become loved. Liked even. She's flawed in that she was born with a curse. A curse to tell nothing but the truth. Right now, my problem is naming her. Naming a character is not as easy as you might think.

I've struggled with names in the past. To pull a name out of thin air doesn't work with me. It has to feel right. I have to see the face with the name, at least in my head. I know what my characters look like and their names have to match. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing the punch that character brings to the page. For me, Scarlett OHara could never have been called Jane or Betsy or Cora. She was Scarlett! That name will forever be synonymous with the character. Get it?

I collect names from everywhere. From people I meet, names I overhear, baby books, and from folks I've known in my past. Here are a few of the names I'm considering for this wonderful character in my latest story: Leola, Hennessy, Faye, Pudge, Sioux, Jule, Atlanta, Readith, Macel, Dulcie, Bella, and Izzy Mae. Oh yes, all quite Southern in origin.

I may not hear her name until the story is finished. To fully develop this character, I have to name her. But the plot is in full bloom at the moment, so maybe it's just not the right time to know what to call her. It may come to me in my sleep, as has happened in the past. And then again, she may tell me herself.

I love it when that happens.

Blessings to you and yours.

1 comment:

Dena said...

For what it's worth, "Atlanta" popped for me from your list. It's a "weird" name and I can see it being either the name of the IT girl at school who makes it work for her, or the misfit girl who not only is weird herself, but is stuck with an odd name to boot.