Earlier this week I was completely out of ideas for a blog. Instead of sitting, staring at a blank screen, I decided to admit my failings. I so admire those who can post blogs on a regular basis and almost envious of those who manage to post almost daily. When no ideas developed even after an infusion of caffeine, I turned to my critique partners for help. They offered several suggestions. Here is the first one.
a) I suggest you write on how to find the perfect name. That is going to be the subject of my next newsletter President's message thing - so it's on my brain.
Sometimes it is hard for me to write a character unless I have given them the perfect name. I have gone so far as to change a character's name three times while working on a manuscript. I've noticed that I am not really connected to that character until they finally have the perfect name for them. A name can make all of the difference in how a character is viewed. Last year a blog was posted on SecondWindPub.wordpress.com on November 10th entitled Names Define Your Characters. Until I read this post I had no idea that Scarlett O’Hara’s original first name was Pansy. Can you imagine that? I can’t. Just take a few of the famous lines Scarlett is known for: “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again” or “You'd rather live with that silly little fool who can't open her mouth except to say "yes" or "no" and raise a passel of mealy-mouthed brats just like her!” Can you see a Pansy saying those lines? I can’t. However, I can see a Pansy uttering “I’ll think about that tomorrow”.
I am not saying Pansy is a bad name at all and I actually like it. But when I hear the name I think of a nice, sweet, caring person. More of a Melanie type character who puts others first and sees the good in everyone. The name Scarlett brings an entirely different image to mind. Of course, my feelings are certainly influenced by Gond With the Wind because I've never known a Scarlett personally. Which brings up another question. Have you ever avoided using a name because a character is so well known? Or, have you ever avoided using names of people you know, or people you have known? Or, do you draw your character's names from people in your life or in your past? Which leads to the second part of her question.
b) But for you - you could discuss why you love the name Patrick so much. (Maybe your brother will read it.)
An explanation is needed. I did not even realize I was doing this, but every story I’ve written has a character named Patrick as either the hero or heroine’s brother. I didn’t even notice this until it was pointed out to me. I have changed all but one of the Patrick’s to another name. I have no idea why this name kept reappearing, but it is my brother’s middle name. Do you ever find yourself drawn to one specific name and use it in every story? And what is your favorite resource for finding the perfect name?