Changing a Character’s Name

We’ve all met that one person whose name isn’t quite right. You look at them and think “Jason” instead of “Mark”; or “Carmen” instead of “Poppy”. You’ve also probably met that person who’s name you never asked for, so you give them a name instead.

When I was younger, (somewhere between the ages of 8 and 11- I don’t quite remember) I was in an airport and I met a boy while waiting to board the plane. I talked to this boy with my brothers for what felt like hours; but I never asked his name. Since then, I have always referred to him as “Tommy”. He just looked like a Tommy to me.

A name is a very powerful thing. They can change a way we imagine someone. So, picking a name for a character can completely shape the way a reader imagines the character. When I name characters, I imagine what I want them to look like and how I want them to act, then I look through my baby naming book (it’s a long story) and pick the name that makes my character come to life.

So what happens when the name you picked just isn’t cutting it? What happens when you accidentally type a different name instead of the name you chose for your character?

You change your character’s name.

I am the type of person who obsesses for weeks before setting on a list of names for my characters, so changing the name of a character is not something I do often. So, when I found myself questioning the name Zane for my male main character in Candy Wrappers, I was in uncharted waters, so to speak. I found myself wondering if I could change his name- especially after I announced it to pretty much everyone I know.

I decided that yes, I can change his name. This book is my creative outlet, and it should be exactly how I want it to be; no matter how many thing I have to change. That’s just how creativity works: you can’t always get it right on the first try.

So, I have decided that the former Zane Towne will now be called Ren Towne (still iffy on the last name). And yes, I totally got the name ‘Ren’ from Footloose, not the baby naming book. Sometimes inspiration comes from hot actors.

Changing Zane’s name was a lot easier than I expected. The hardest part was getting around to doing it. I’ve been meaning to for almost a week now. I am lucky enough (lazy enough?) that I haven’t gotten to the part in Candy Wrappers where Ren is introduced, so all I had to do was update my notes and synopsis.

Honestly, I am glad I went through with the name change. I don’t find myself accidentally saying ‘Zane’ like some people thought I would. I feel more connected to Ren, and it makes me more excited to sit down and write Candy Wrappers.

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Writing my First Chapter

For the past two days I have been working on the first chapter of my second novel. As I have said before, my first novel (Keep Moving On) was not written very well. I was participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which meant I had to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It was definitely not easy.

My second novel, Candy Wrappers, has nothing to do with Keep Moving On. It is going to be the first in a series called The Gravestone Chronicles, which will follow Malia Kotter and Zane Towne in their quest to find the gravestone and banish demons from our world once and for all. In Candy Wrappers Malia is going to meet Zane, and learn about the threat of demons in the world; and how they are the real reason behind her parents murder.

I have most of the main plot points figured out, but how to actually start the book is a whole different story. I truly believe that beginning a story is the hardest part. You face the challenge of setting up the plot, characters, and setting, all while keeping the reader engaged.  Just the thought of doing this makes me want to curl up under a rug somewhere and hide.

In the past two days of working on my book, I have written 1,218 words; that is about 2 1/2 pages of size 11 font. I have successfully completed my first scene, which is about 1/3 of my first chapter. In all honesty, I think I would have written a lot more if I didn’t spend so much time online and on social media; however, it is part of my life, and I have no deadline for when I want my first draft to be done.

I have also spent a lot of time staring at my sentences and rewriting them over and over again. I think it is fair to say that I am a bit of a perfectionist. Hopefully I will be able to resist the urge to edit so I can get some new words on the end.

I have some high hopes for Candy Wrappers, and seeing it being written down on a page is very encouraging. I can’t wait to write some more, and see if Malia and Zane want to go along with my plans for them.