Christine Freeburn returns today for a stint on Book Club Friday. Christine’s The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series brings together her love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia. When not writing or reading, she can be found in her scrapbook room or at a crop. Learn more about Christina and her books at her website and blog. – AP
What’s Your Name?
The black bar blinked and I stared at the monitor. Stalled. No words entered my mind as the most important one was beyond my grasp. What the heck had I named this character? Pete? No. Michael? No, “he” was the victim in another book. Glen? No.
I tapped my fingers on the keyboard. Wait...it started with a “D”. Yeah, I remembered something. Darren? Nope. Daniel? Not that either. This was taking too long, and felt very déjà vuish. I flipped back a week in my day planner. Dave was written in bold letters and underlined. Dave! That was his name. No wonder the process felt familiar, I forgot this guy’s name last week, also.
I pulled out a notebook and started scribbling “new” names as I needed to correct a very serious character problem. “Dave” didn’t like his name and until I changed it, the character would never stick in my head...so he’d never stick in the reader’s head. And he needed to as this character became important later in the story.
A name grabbed my attention. I looked at it again. Interesting. It could be a first or last name. “That’s me!” the character seemed to shout. The more I pondered, the more I discovered this name worked well with the plot, added a little twist in a natural way later on in the story.
This isn’t the first time during the writing of a book I learned a character had the wrong name. Usually, if I can’t get a character to “cooperate” in the story it’s because they don’t believe what I’ve named them suits their personalities. It’s hard to even get fictional people’s attention when you call them the wrong name.
It’s like the character knew the choice didn’t reflect who they were and didn’t allow them the ability to “express” themselves as needed in the story. Either the name was too unusual and they needed to blend in more to the story, or the name was “boring” and did not suit their personality at all. Sometimes, it’s fun to name a character and have it not match their personality and it becomes part of the story...other times the character just won’t come to life.
I’ve discovered that names are just as important when I’m writing a story as the plot. If the name isn’t correct, the story will come to a standstill at some point until I fix it. Fortunately, I haven’t had the problem with a hero or heroine not liking their name halfway through a book...talk about a time-consuming fix if that ever happens. Then again, I spend a lot of time coming up with the perfect hero or heroine name before I write the book. Secondary characters I usually name when they “show up” rather than spending time testing out names.
Hmmm...maybe I should.
Designed to Death
Faith Hunter planned the perfect event at her grandmother’s shop, Scrap This, featuring local scrapbooker and Life Artist Diva, Belinda Watson. But the extravaganza goes up in a cloud of glitter when Belinda and her cousin, Darlene, brawl over scraplifted designs. Faith attempts to break it up but only makes things worse. Then when Belinda turns up dead behind the Scrap This store, Faith’s involvement goes viral.
As accusations against her turn vicious, Faith sets out to prove her nemesis Darlene committed the crime, only to realize they are both innocent. Now they must team up or the murderer’s plan will come together seamlessly with the frenemies sharing a jail cell—or worse, a funeral.