I’m Back! And Fun with Names

Wow. My last post was on Thanksgiving. I didn’t mean to take a hiatus, but I guess I did. Tomorrow I go back to work, so I guess life will turn back to normal. Which should mean fairly regular posts (at least weekly) once more.


A few posts ago, I mentioned that I realized I had written past the point where my book should end, and I decided to end my book at 100,000 words and use everything after that for book 2. Well, I have been hard at work carrying out that plan. I’ll be cutting about 5000 to 7000 words once I reach The End, but I wrote about 15,000 words over the last month, which is extremely prolific for me.

So I’ll likely end up with a novel of about 105,000 words, plus another book’s worth of material. I am thinking this will probably be only a two-book series, with Tinkering With Yesterday as the current working title for the second book.

Along with writing, I’ve been doing quite a bit of revising, so I thought it would be fun to blog about one of my writing tics.

What is it With Me and Names?

I almost always start my protagonists’ names with an A or an E. In East of Yesterday, I have an Adelaide and an Emmeline. I also had an Elizabeth. And for men, I have an Abraham and an Edmund. That’s five out of my eight major characters.

It got worse. Inadvertent alliteration is another problem. Elizabeth’s nickname was Betsy, and another major character’s name is Bethany. And whenever there was a scene with Betsy, she was always with Bethany. Even I was confusing them. Clearly, something had to be done. So Elizabeth became Josephine, with the nicknames of Josie and Sophie. And guess what? I already have a Sophie–a minor character, but she is there. So she will be renamed. And to add to this preponderance of Bs? I also have a Bradley and a Barthelemew, and my main characters’ last name is Blaine.

But I’m not done yet. Edmund’s nickname is Ned, a nickname that I am quite fond of. But I also have a Nathaniel. I am trying to decide if it would be acceptable to keep these names, as I am attached to both, and because poor Ned has already been renamed from Henry and Benjamin. It was hard enough to stop thinking of him as Ben, and sometimes I still do. I don’t think I could adapt to another name for Nate–that’s been his name since the beginning.

And the minor characters? I have a Marissa with an aunt by the name of Amanda, who has a sister named Agatha.  I did manage to get out of the box with the names of Felix and Lysander, but by the time I named those characters, I had recognized this little problem I had.

I know many of you are writers–do you have any writing tics to share?

6 Thoughts to “I’m Back! And Fun with Names”

  1. Oh, names are horrid! I mean, as far as not giving people names with the same first letter. It’s almost impossible, especially if you have last names yet! Do I have annoying writing tics? Well, I have a habit of outlining a story ending several different ways -just to try out how they’d go- and then trying to integrate my favorite bits from all of them. This doesn’t sound like a bad habit until you’re partway through a scene and suddenly remember the whole thing hinged on something from one of the cut plot lines. It is a HUGE headache.

    1. I’m not much of an outliner, but I do change things a lot. And then I go back and find ghosts left over from the cut changes. When Magic Mirror was going through the editing process, there was a few “huh” moments between me and my editor when she spotted a few of these.

  2. Good thing she found the glitches. 🙂 That would be hard, with the two viewpoints, to catch everything.

  3. I have trouble naming characters, period. Somehow, it’s always a struggle. I don’t want the names to be too similar, but I don’t want them so different they sound more multicultural than they’re supposed to be. Given how multicultural Hawai’i is, that’s a tough balance for me to hit. {Smile}

    1. And then they have to “feel right” for the character. Even I don’t know what that means. But I discard potential names all the time because they didn’t feel right.

      1. I think I know what you mean. Some names just don’t match the character. They may be great names, but not for this character. Somehow it doesn’t fit, so they won’t answer to it, and I just have to keep looking. {Smile}


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