I had never really given it much thought into how I go about naming my characters. It took me by surprise when members of my writing groups mentioned how they took time to research their names and meanings. My eyes were open as I realized how serious they were with this.
For my children’s book the main character is called Jasper in real life and I molded his personality from what I knew of him. The other names I just picked out of thin air. My book “ A Woman of Color” is based on true people though the names have been changed to protect their identity. But again I did not spend time in deciding what alternatives to use. When I write I toss in a name and keep on going.
So now I have these questions. Do you take the time to pick your character names? If so how do you go about it? What is the process? How do you start? Does it really matter?
Even as I research into this topic my mind set is still not big on picking any particular monikers for my writing. Maybe it is just me? Perhaps I am doing something wrong in not taking greater care of my characters. I am more focus on getting the story out on paper as the hook is developed, the plot unfolds and all is nice and neat at the end. To me being a good story-teller matters a bit more than the names I attach to the people involved in my novel. As I asked more questions I am left wondering as the answers just don’t seem to connect the dots in how I process my writings. I want to understand how much does this impact my MS.
So to my viewers out there if you take time to naming your peeps can you give me some insight into this? I want my book to not only be read by others I want it to stand up and shine and be taken noticed. That is what we all want right?
“Hi Sharon,” greeted Lori as I entered her used and new book store. Returning the sentiment I went to the back. It felt good to be recognized by the store owner. Growing up in a small town where the town population fluctuated between 800-1000 residents it was an adjustment moving to a larger area. Granted this was just one of many cities I had live in since leaving the comforts of Northern Maine so many years ago. Over the years we have moved numerous times to cities of various sizes. Where I was no exception, my area had over 200K in number.
Having a place like Lori’s that made one feel cozy was nice. Lori always called when James Patterson or Stephen King had a book out. She knew I was their number one fan well in my heart and soul. I would be asked if I wanted a particular book or not, if I did she would hold it for me. There has been times she has called and the money was just not there for me to purchase the book. I would tell her to just put it on the shelf for I was not getting paid for another two weeks. Not a problem would always be her reply as she would place it in the back to wait for me. In the beginning I would tell her that if someone else wanted it to please sell the novel. She is running a business after all. This was something to this day she has never done. If I wanted it , the book would be there waiting for me. I don’t know about you but I am not familiar with any book store holding something for a customer that long. She is a gem for lack of a better word.
The kindness is continued by other shops locally. Being in a military town there is no lack of pawn shops. The one we visit has a layaway plan for 90 days. One of the rules is you must not lose your original ticket. A recent trip found me unable to find this little sheet of paper. Expressing my concern to the lady at the front counter I was informed not to worry. We know you and that you’re a good customer, this will not be an issue. They knew me by face and name and that was sufficient for them.
This kindness continues. The church we attend is not very big as far as membership but it still manages to have three masses during the weekend. Sitting in the same pew for a few years people get accustom to us as they nod and say hello inside and outside the church ground. Learning our names as we celebrate together.
All of the people who interact with me from the examples above will nod and say hello when they see me out in the community. It does a body good. While it is not easy adjusting to change these little experiences help. Adapting and overcoming is the key especially when our family is not near us. It is times like this that make our place in this city a home. I will probably never meet a good portion of the people who filter through the roads and businesses that lace our area. But that’s okay. For the ones I’m coming across are making our surroundings special and giving us lasting memories.