“A free ebook!” exclaimed Jiggles.

Names. Our characters need them, but where do we find them? I’ve searched dozens of sources looking for perfect names, ones readers will remember easily and relate with. Often times I do find unique ones that suit the characters, but not always.

Sometimes my adult brain gets in the way of finding a great name. Perhaps I should start letting my kids pick them. They seem to have a knack for discovering the perfect name that describes a character, is unique and memorable. Their names – which are mostly gender neutral – for their pets stand out and make visitors smile.

If I substituted my children’s duck and chicken names in place of the character names I chose in Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove, my novel would read like this:

 

“What is it?” asked Peaches, looking back at her.

Ginger squinted and pointed through the dappled sunlight. “Is that Old Speckles?”Fluffy is the perfect name for a cat whose tail becomes a fluffy stick when startled.

A man dressed in green work pants and shirt dragged a large rectangular box toward the house. His sleeves were rolled up past his elbows, and he looked as though he struggled with his load.

Jiggles stood with his hands on his hips, watching. “Yeah, that’s Old Speckles,” he said. “I wonder what he’s doing.”

The old man seemed oblivious to their presence. He continued to wiggle the box, trying to get it to move. Jiggles took a few steps toward him, but Ginger grabbed his arm.

“You’re not going up there, are you?”

“Uh, I was thinking about it.”

“Don’t you remember the last time we met Old Speckles?” asked Ginger. “He gave us heck for being on his property. Even threatened to call the police.”

“Yeah,” agreed Peaches. “He’s a mean old man.”

“No, he’s not.” Jiggles assured them.

Ginger watched him hesitate. He didn’t look as if he wanted to visit with Old Speckles even though he said the man wasn’t mean. Jiggles’ face twisted as he looked to Ginger for support. She shook her head.

“Hey, guys.” Peaches suddenly whispered, pointing toward Old Speckles.

The man stared at them. Ginger was certain he scowled. Everyone fell silent. With two quick waves of his hand, he ordered them to go away.

“He doesn’t have to tell me twice,” said Peaches and started walking, with Spots right behind her.

To receive a free e-copy of Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove by Candy McMudd (aka Diane Lynn Tibert), visit Smashwords and enter the coupon code RU57Z. The coupon expires December 31, 2011.

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4 thoughts on ““A free ebook!” exclaimed Jiggles.

  1. An interesting post about how character names affect the story. At least that’s how I processed the post. I think names are incredibly important to a tale. So important that i try not to use names that sound the same for different characters or use names that start with the same letter. I want each to be instantly recognizable, but sometimes I forget and fall in love with a sound and end up with two characters that have the same tone. it always confuses my readers.

    loved the post Diane. Would love to see you guest some Wednesday on my blog.

    • I agree, Thea. Names are an important component of a story. Like you, I deliberately use names that sound different and begin with different letters in a given story. However, like you, I also make mistakes and fall in love with a name. Two main characters in my fantasy novel are Argon and Anna. They don’t sound a like but they begin with the same letter. Will I change them? I don’t know. I’ve been writing stories about Argon (named after my favourite gas) for 25 years. To call him someone else is impossible.

      I’m not as attached to Anna, so if a name must change, it will be that one. Still, I’ve been writing about her for 12 years. Initially, these two were minor characters. I didn’t know they’d take over my novel and fall in love.

      I’d love to guess blog some Wednesday. Perhaps in a few weeks once I get things settled from Christmas and birthdays.

  2. Well, that’s an idea. Perhaps when my granddaughter is a bit older I’ll let her name my characters since I don’t have any animal pets. I’ve already read your book, Diane, as you know. It’s a great little mystery for middle grade readers. When Miss Charlotte is older, I’m sure she’ll enjoy reading it as well.

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