Last time we chatted I was waiting on some editorial feedback, keeping myself busy (distracted) with card making and staring at The Rock, and playing around with a few story ideas in my head wondering which one would take hold and become my next manuscript.
I’m sure you’re all dying to find out whether any of the story ideas that were floating round stuck. Guess what? They didn’t. But no need to despair. As I was playing with the characters in my head, sussing them out, getting to know them, an entirely new story came to me. I should say scene, really, not story, because it is far from a fully fleshed out idea. But this one scene kept popping into my mind – think of it like a 30 second clip from a movie (because that’s how it is in my head) – and it just wouldn’t go away.
So I madly scribbled some ideas and I think, just maybe, this is the one I’m going to run with. Now, it will be a while before I can give it the attention it needs, while I finish off Shadows, but I’m finding that in those quiet moments, like driving to school pick up, doing the dishes, the story is firming up and I can’t wait to get started on it.
One of the biggest problems I have when starting something new is figuring out the name of my main character (MC). Even harder than naming my own children. The supporting cast I manage well, even the male MC I seem to name easily, but my female lead, man she always gives me trouble.
As the lead, she is kind of important, so it’s important to get her name right, and there are so many things to consider.
- Age and era appropriateness – let’s face it a girl in her thirties in 2015 Sydney is unlikely to be called Eunice (unless there’s a deliberate plot point around that).
- Cultural appropriateness – a girl born in rural Australia in the 70s probably isn’t going to be called Shakira or Amandine. Likewise a German girl born the same time probably isn’t going to be named Sharon (or Shazza as we Aussie’s like to say). And if her father is Italian, her last name is unlikely Smith.
- Then there’s your own personal bias – if your arch nemesis in high school was a girl named Kylie, you’re probably not going to call your heroine that. Or if it’s the name of the school mum in the playground who always thinks everything is about her, she’ll think the story is about her when it totally isn’t and you don’t want to go there. And for me whenever I see a character with a name like Tallulah Blossom, I find it hard to cope with the fact she’s supposed to be a doctor. (That may be unfair, and sorry to any doctors out there named Tallulah Blossom, but I did say it was a personal bias.)
- And then, of course, there’s the ‘it just sounds right’ component – again this is quite personal. I love the name of my MC in Shadows – Alice Pond – but one of betas really doesn’t like it.
Trouble is, I find it hard to move forward with a story unless I have my MC’s name locked in. Probably because it goes with truly knowing your MC, and how can I write her story if I don’t even know her name? I’m not someone who can write a story leaving the name blank to come back to later. With minor characters, yes, but not with my MC. If I don’t know her name, I can’t picture her in my head.
So, I thought maybe we could have some fun together, and you my lovely readers and writers can help me brainstorm some names for my new MC. First name a must, last name a bonus (I have trouble with that too).
To help you, a little about her – She’s going to be in her mid-to late 30s. Born in Sydney, lived there all her life. Ethnicity of parents undecided yet so knock yourself out with that. But I do see her as a brunette, not blonde. Intelligent but not a genius – corporate type. Quite serious (part of her journey is going to be ‘lightening up’). Has a secretive grandmother and trying to find out more about her is what puts MC on her new path. That new path leads her to a small coastal town with an amazing little bookshop owned by grandmother’s estranged BFF. Male lead who may or may not be a romantic interest (still deciding) is named Shawn.
Not a lot to go on, but as I said, a bit of fun. Leave a comment with suggestions. Unfortunately no prizes for the winner, except the honour and glory of acknowledgment when I finally get published.
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
As always I’m hoping with Julie again. Check out what other writers are up to… Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-july-2015