Monday, September 19, 2005

Too much imagination or what is in a name

On Sept 16 Shari blogged, "A writer’s problem is usually too many ideas and not enough time to develop those ideas into a story and then get it written."

This is sooooo not my problem. I am definitely a one-idea-at-a-time writer and I live in fear of never having another idea. I envy my friends who say things like, "I have stories popping into my head all the time." I do, too, but what pops into my head is the story I'm working on right now, not a million other ones. My friend Karen Anders, who writes for Blaze, was just saying to me yesterday that she has so many ideas she has to keep a big folder for them. Not just a folder. A big folder.

What is worse, Karen thinks up names for her characters in the wink of an eye. "They come to me fully blown, Diane," she just said to me. "With names and all." I agonize over names, going to a Baby Naming website and my collection of Regency names to try to find the "right" one. Takes hours.

Then if I find a name I like, I have to make sure that it doesn't belong to a real person. I don't want to write about the Earl of Kellworth (my hero's title in The Marriage Bargain, due in bookstores Oct 1)if he really exists, living in Gloucestershire or someplace. What if the Earl was offended? Although I don't know why he should be, because my hero got a KISS award-Knight in Shining Silver-in October's Romantic Times BOOKclub magazine.

I had given my earl in The Marriage Bargain a great name: Spencer Keegan. I actually googled that name to make sure it didn't belong to an ax murderer or something. It belonged to a cute little boy in kindergarten, but I didn't think he'd be reading my book anytime soon, so I was happy. If you have my first book, The Improper Wife, you'll see good ol' Spence Keegan in the teaser chapter at the end of the book. Then my friend Virginia told me, "You can't give an English earl an Irish name." "Is it Irish?" says I. "Very Irish," she replied.
Sigh.
Back to my naming books and websites. Spence Keegan became Spence Keenan. Not quite as catchy as Keegan.

I named my heroine Emma, one of my favorite English female names, like Emma Thompson or Emma, Lady Hamilton. It is a pretty name. One of my daughter's high school friends was named Emma.
On Friday I played Bunco and was talking about my upcoming book. My neighbor Vicky said, "I've read The Marriage Bargain, haven't I?" "No," I explained. "You might have read the excerpt in The Improper Wife (you know, the one with Spencer Keegan?)" "Oh, yes," she went on. "You named the heroine after our dog."
That Emma is a huge Newfoundland who comes barreling toward me whenever she sees me. Someday I'm going to sic my three cats on her. She'd run, too.

I'm not finished with names yet. There are all the minor characters to name. Same rules apply. Don't name them after real people (or dogs). But now I have to make sure all the names start with different letters of the alphabet. We don't want Spence's friends called Sam and Sebastian--or the servants for that matter. And we don't want to give them the same names as the servants in our other books. We also don't want to give our villains cool names we might need for other heroes or heroines in future books, if we can think up any future books.

Whew! All this takes time and brain power! My theory is that it takes up the space in my brain where that folder of story ideas is supposed to go.

Have a great week, everyone!
Diane Perkins

1 comment:

test comment said...

Great Post Diane! This is a test comment!

Michelle