Sunday, July 8, 2012

Names (and Fan Mail, continued)

Amid this latest batch of mail are
handmade postcards:
on one side a scene from one of my books
and on the back a note to me.

Love these
 glimpses into the head of a reader
to see what he or she sees.

In this mail pile
are hundreds of signatures:
the expected Sarahs and Mikes and Davids
and Kates and Johns and Jills and Abbys

With spelling variations:
Natalie, Natalee, Nataley
Rachel, Rachael, Raychil,
Kaitlin, Kaitlyn, Caitlin, Katelyn

And these more rare, but beautiful names:
Alaina, Alondra, Amiya, Angelica, Abraham, Ameer, Ariel, Aristan, Arda, Alaura, Alouette, Ariana, Aejah,
Brooklyn, Chaun, Camden, Cole, Caleb,
Delia, Della, Delaney, Devron,
Emmanuel, Eunice, Eva, Estefania,
Gabriella, Gianni, Hadia, Haley, Hunter, Isela, Izzy,
Jade, Jayden, Jazzmyn, Jerred, Jesse, Joman, Jevarius, 
Kara, Kadamma, Kazuma, Kaleb, Karlee, Kei, Keani, Khyrea, Kira, Kori,
Leighton, Lariah, Lily,
Mei, Maximillian, Marika, Mallory, Morgan, Mackenzie, Macalistair,
Nellie, Nile, Nora, Oshen, Olivia, Paris, Peyton, Paige,
Rainey, Roya, Radhika, Rose, Reeve, Rahul, Rocene,
Sydney, Sofia, Sierra, Sami, Shayna, Shareka, Serena, Sidalie,
Trinity, Tristan, Tatem, Tate
Uziel, Vega, Veronica, Whitney, 
Xavier, Yzsabella,

I've long been intrigued by the ways in which
we are shaped by
or perceived by
our names
cannot move forward 
with the writing of a story
without names.

I've already chosen two from the above
for a future book.
Those names will not only shape
the character
but also suggest
the plot.

So if you're ever stuck
in beginning a story
try choosing two random names
and let them
(the characters with those names)
go at it.



  1. Names are interesting as all heck. Mine is 4 letters and growing up it bothered me that all the guys had nicknames, but mine could go nowhere. I live with it now no problem. And you betcha, I have issues with 55 year old guys calling themselves Billy... STILL.

  2. Thank you for this powerful advice :)
    My characters appear (I am an illustrator), and then demand to be named. Once that happens, all good things start flowing...

  3. Oh, how I relate to/ love this post! (About halfway through writing my first novel, I renamed my character Gloriana and she took on a much stronger personality.)

    I know some writers can't bring themselves to change a character's name in the midst of a story, but that's not been my experience. Changing names can work magic.

  4. I love the way characters' names shape their...well, characters! As a teacher, I love getting my new roster of students unknown to me, reading their names and wondering about their personalities, how they match the name and how the name matches them. :)

  5. Inspirational fuel for writer Ms. Creech. Aren't children grand?

    So many many beautiful names. . .

  6. I love that long list of names, Sharon! I you have many notes to write in response. What a great idea to choose a name and then start imagining the person's characteristics.

  7. Wonderful list! For my latest project, the name was the first thing I really knew about my main character, before I ever started writing. And the first thing I wrote was about how she got her name!

  8. the cards are wonderful. the list of names delicious. the promise of a new book tantalizing. the amount of work to answer all of those notes, to address all of those names with their multiple questions, prodigious.

  9. I have a great tendency to keep giving my characters versions of the same name, then I have to go through afterwards and change them all! :) Strange!