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Alison says: Milestones...

2nd August 2015

Today was a milestone for me. A strange one, but a satisfying one. Today for the first time, I witnessed a serious discussion between two people about how they interpreted a section of my book.  I sat between Kay and Barb and listened to their point of views, differing from each other, and I thought, wow.  I couldn’t believe it. It was such a weird feeling and yet a very satisfying one. I had made them react to my characters. I had taken them on a journey.  (And I actually found critique interesting! My thick skin is finally starting to grow!)

I’ve spoken before about how my characters are not nice people.  My story isn’t supposed to be nice. I want the reader to sit on the edge of the seat. I want the reader to squirm yet be intrigued enough to continue reading. I want the gambit of emotions. Whether I am successful in that or not, only time will tell.

Yet, as I say I want the reader involved with my characters, I am very conscious of giving these characters the correct name. Should be simple, shouldn’t it? I can’t even begin to count the hours I have spent scrolling through name sites on the internet, looking for that perfect name that I think embodies that character.

Sometimes I get it right and other times I don’t. Last time I mentioned my storyboarding – at least three characters have had a name change when I realised their names started with the same letter. It took me half an hour to decide on a new name for one of those characters alone. The name had to have a certain flow to it, a certain solidness. I mean, if you are writing a story about a prize fighter, you want a solid name, not a name that is six syllables long.

Take today for example. One of my main characters is from a certain period and place in time. While I liked the name I had chosen, I was wary of it. Was it a name that would be used? I’m sure at one point when I first started delving for names, I researched it, but that was so long ago, I can’t remember. So another bout of research sent me scrolling through names and researching history.  And as strange as it may seem, I believe it could have been entirely possible for that name to be used. That was a relief. I had this character so embedded in my mind; to call him something else would have felt strange.  So my character keeps his name, to which I’m sure all the other characters were grateful, after all they had known him by that name as well.

I am always after interesting names. The names for the individual books for the above series may have already been chosen, but some characters in another series still need to be named. Any suggestions?

Until next time


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