For me, a story idea really comes to life when my brain bubbles up with one of two things: The Title or the Character's name. Today, it was the character's name. YAY!
It seems silly that, in my world, a name comes complete with a personality and history. But it does.
A single girl considers her date's last name, I guarantee it. Would you consider spending the rest of your life as Mrs. Fudge and still feel like yourself? I doubt it. To my everlasting shame, I once met a nice guy whose last name was Balloon. It didn't last an afternoon. (I believe he is happily married and, clearly, she's a bigger person than I am.)
Some names can be delightful and quirky. I like to read the credits after a movie, scanning for interesting names. Could I have been Mrs. Pancake? I love it! But I guarantee I'd nickname my baby girl "Butter," at least while she was a roly-poly baby. And what if the nickname stuck?
Did you know that Katie Scarlett O'Hara nearly never was? Margaret Mitchell had named her "Pansy" and only changed it at the last minute. Isn't that crazy?! And now that pansy means something entirely opposite to Scarlett's fiery personality, it would have been plain criminal.
- I'm happy that my character is alive and well in my imagination.
- I'm relieved that Mitchell came to her senses.
- And I'm grateful to not be Aunt Jemima to my friends' kids. Shweew!