Monday, October 19, 2009
Alice and Tom are Stuck in my House!
My seven year old has been naming everything new in her life, Alice. You may recall the turtle we found in Rappahannock County and then released in the woods behind our house? She (or he as I have no idea how to tell a turtle's gender) was when the "Alice" syndrome started. That was this summer.
My four year old is following suit as he usually does but I don't think he is intending to copy his sister this time. Every new "friend", be it a stuffed animal or a rock, is named Tom. Sometimes Tommy.
I can't keep all these inanimate things straight there are so many Alices and Toms. But, it struck a cord recently. I too tend to choose the same names over and over. For my characters. Whenever I begin a new story, there is a bank of names I unknowingly go to. Favorite names for sure. My current MC has one of those names, Claire.
A week ago, while we ate dinner, it dawned on me that I'm stuck in a rut. Not that my bank of names are lame. They obviously are ones that I have liked for sometime. Some of them were actually on a shortlist in my mind for my kids. But, that's no reason to choose them for the characters in your book.
Recently, on reading the first few chapters of Kate DiCamillo's The Magician's Elephant the characters' names jumped out. What great names she dreams up!
So, I need to work on my character naming. My kids showed me this. They teach me quite a bit actually. I just hope I don't start naming my characters Alice and Tom!