MOPNoWriMo Day 25: What’s In A Name (again) (23/2/2012)

Day twenty five: Target wordcount: 100000. Words written: 94900

Damn characters keep talking to each other instead of getting on with it and fighting. However, all is now set for the climax of the endgame. Will it be finished by the end of tomorrow, as it is supposed to be? Touch and go. It helps that the four-chapter end sequence has now reduced itself to a half-page epilogue around an entirely different character, the planned end sequence having been aborted due to the necessary character managing to be in completely the wrong place by now. In a way it was a sort of post-credits sequence designed to put a character from the climax in peril again for a cliff-hanger ending, and since I’ve already got a character in quite a lot of peril away from the final climax, I think I’ll stick with that.

This is the third time I’ve set out to say something about naming characters and so this time I’m going to do it right before some distracts – oooh! Squirrel!

Names matter a lot to me. Not that I claim to be at all good at them, but names shape the characters that wear them. If there’s one thing I have to get right in the very first draft, it’s the names for all the main characters. I’ve tried all sorts of ways around this, and none of them work. Names are part of what defines a character for me, and one of the very most importantest things of the first draft is to get the characters sorted out so they can all be very clear with me about what they will and won’t do. I’ve tried placeholder names. I’ve called characters Billious Bob and Fractious Frank and maybe it’s not surprise that didn’t work out too well. Other things have come closer to the mark. In one story (still a work in progress), the lead character was called Ezio for a while. Names do get changed in the first draft sometimes as I think of something that works better for a character who’s not yet fully defined. Generally, though, by the end of the first act, the names are what they will be forever. When I’ve thought of a name I like better for a character and tried to change it late in the rewrites, the character’s behaviour starts to change to. Weird but there it is.


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