Saturday, November 11, 2006

Writing woes - what's in a name?

I make a big deal about names. I think it's just another great way to procrastinate (like this - I am 3,000 words short of my goal for tonight, so instead of writing on my novel, I'm blogging).

I usually take forever to come up with character names, and it killed me when I had to change my main character's name in my first novel (the one that is still not finished...) "Kay" - short for "Katherine (Katie) Scarlett," because her mom's obsessed with Gone With The Wind - was too blah, not memorable enough for a MC. I didn't want to change her name to "Scarlett," because that seemed too... I guess I didn't think her mom would go ahead and name her "Scarlett," it was too much, but my writer's group convinced me it was okay. Now I love it, and I think it made the character bolder.

My first NaNo novel had a character named "Mark," a name I kind of grabbed out of nowhere, and then decided needed to change. I can't remember why, but "Mark" had to become "Brad" after quite a bit of writing. I was too lazy to "Edit/Replace" one by one (besides, this was November! There is no time to waste in November!) so I used Word's trusty "Replace All" feature.

Word to the wise - never use "Replace All." Because Word doesn't bother to check if the letters "Mark" are capitalized, nor does it particularly care whether or not the letters are standing alone or if they are surrounded by other letters - wherever it finds "m-a-r-k" it will type "b-r-a-d."

Result: when you take your novel to your writer's critique group, suddenly you will find odd words such as "reBrads" and "reBradable" in your novel. And if you're lucky enough to be part of a witty writer's critique group, as I was, they will never let you live those "reBrads" down.

The point of this post? I need the name of a fictional junior high. If you have a suggestion, please comment!


  1. Anonymous4:55 PM

    lol... I think I remember reading "reBrad" in your novels somewhere, and was wondering what had happened.

    Jr High name... Just think of any mildly significant historical figure and name it after that. Like Thomas Jefferson Junior High, or Hamilton Junior High, or Douglass Adams Junior High (oh wait, he wasn't historical, he's a writer... though you could throw it in and see if anyone catches it ; )

  2. Anonymous11:33 AM

    I'm so bad at coming up with things like that. I'd generally suggest something landscape/location based: Southside or Northshore or Forest's Edge or something like that.

    One time in junior high I did a very mean thing. A girl who I disliked very strongly (with good reason, mind you) sat in the same desk as me in typing class the period after me. I formatted Word so that every time she typed in her name it would autochange to "Dirty Slut." I got caught very shortly after, but it was glorious, and I felt very clever.

  3. I don't know if you have a name yet, but you can't go wrong with "Green". Greendale, Green Valley, Green Point...