Sunday, August 30, 2015

Say My Name Or Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet is quoted as saying,

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
            By any other name would smell as sweet;

While Shakespeare does make a point about your name not defining who you are, I’m certain that if a rose were called burlap or the velvet flower, you might feel differently about it.

            This is a post is about names. Specifically, your character’s names. A character’s name is the reader’s first introduction to the person they’ll be spending the next 300 to 400 pages with.

For example, Remington Stevens III might be a trust fund baby and Clover Sunshine Jones might be the daughter of hippies. There is so much a name can tell us right off the bat. And each name carries its own energy. Even though you might have chosen carefully, sometimes a name can get away from you.

Now, I’ll be the first person to tell you that I’m neurotic about my character names (just as my critique group!). If the energy doesn’t feel right for the story, I chuck it or use it for a street name or a toss away character. Even then, sometimes it doesn't work.

I’ve been struggling lately with my prequel. The story is a little villainous, if  not, unique. It made sense, but it just wasn’t working. After talking with my critters (critique partners), I realized that my protagonist was to blame. She was young and bratty, self-serving, and insanely jealous. I had named her Nalo, which is a wonderful name for her. She was strong and self-assured, and knew what she wanted. But Nalo, proved to have an energy that I wasn’t prepared to deal with and she was taking over my story in a negative way.

If I had cast her as the villain, she would’ve been perfect, but she needed to be a likable protag and she was telling me, over and over, that she was a bad guy. Damnit. So after some brainstorming, I decided to cast “Nalo” aside and start new.

The new protag’s name is Hasana and she is working out much better. Compared to Nalo, her name sounds softer and looks more pleasing to the eye. She sounds a bit older and more refined. Perfect for the fairy princess that she is. My critters agree that the change was for the better.

So the moral of the story is, don't be afraid of the energy surrounding your names. When its right, the story will unfold naturally and the protag will be everything you want him/her to be. And don’t be upset if you have to change a main character’s name. The switch up could be just what you need to save your story.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lost and Found Again or I'm Back!

After a bit of a hiatus, I feel that I need to return to this blog. Life happens when you're making plans, and a baby, and a job transition.

I can't guarantee I'll be very consistent to start out with, but I have to start somewhere. There is incredibly TOO MUCH stuff to tell you all. I've been busy.

Stay tuned!