I’d never given much thought to my character’s names. I figured that they would have to deal with whatever name I decided was best for them, I was after all in control of my story, of course we all know that’s not true.
I am a particularly bad namer, I use name such as Billy, Sue, Beth, Samantha, James. Very common names that are used everywhere, unoriginal and even boring sometimes. Usually the names fit the character and that was that. That was until Alyssa, or Alisha, or Alice? This characters name was particularly difficult for me to remember, I didn’t think much of it and decided that she was going to be a minor insignifigant character. Mentioned in the background here and there and probably edited out later. No big deal.
Shortly after resigning this character to their very unimportant status I had a friend mine read some passages of editing that I had done. She jokingly noted that all of my work friends, except her, had a character named after them in my WIP. I decided that, to be nice, I would name a character after her. I didn’t really like the idea of creating a character just for her so I decided to change that oh so unimportant characters name that I couldn’t really remember anyway, to hers, Katie. After all, I least now I didn’t have to worry about remembering that name.
I wasn’t prepared for what came from this simple gesture. Katie came to life on the page. She was still the same character I imagined but much more than I had seen before that. Suddenly she was there in the book, not as a background forgettable character but as a leading role. Her personality, her thoughts, her everything popped out at me clearly. It was as if she were hiding from me offended that I didn’t give her the correct name before. One simple change affected my entire story.
So Does a rose by any other name smell as sweet? No, sometimes it’s sweeter.