By Maureen Bonatch
I’m terrible at names. Remembering them or creating them. I blame it on my writer nature since I often remember other little details like appearance or mannerisms, such as the way someone laughs, or if they use a certain word frequently in conversation. This might help me in crafting a story, but the inability to remember or create names is a challenge for me as a writer, and in real life.
Luckily, my husband remembers everyone. If I’m with him he always remembers someone—even if that someone has the deer-in-the-headlights look that is probably what’s on my face when I’m approached by someone and I can’t remember their name.
In my A Charmed Cocktail Cozy Series I called upon my daughters for ideas for my main character Marissa’s last name. So Marissa Hale was born.
The problem is that when you are creating a story there are a lot of things you have to name. Character names can be challenging enough without repeating names or having ones that sound too familiar or are hard to pronounce.
Then, the town, shops, and other key areas for the story all need a name.
Sometimes when I see something the visual helps inspire me to create the name, or the name might provide me with the visual. A church I saw on a bicycle ride inspired me to create the library in GRANDMA MUST DIE. The visual helped me expand the description and bring the setting to life.
I could visualize the setting of Gran’s retirement community in A Charmed Cocktail series in my mind, but I couldn’t come up with a good name. Until we drove by the sign for Willow Hill motel on the turnpike.
After several books were completed for the series, on another trip we took the exit to get a look at the motel. It wasn’t what I visualized, but the name still fit perfectly.
Another old, deserted structure I came across on a bicycle ride was given new life as a key setting in NOT A CHANCE.
How Do You Remember Names?
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While she’s not busy writing or doing nurse-things, she’s a mom to her twin daughters, bicycling in the beautiful woods of PA with her hubby, doing the bidding of a feisty Shih Tzu, and dancing as much as possible. She believes music can be paired with every mood, laughter is contagious, and that caffeine and wine are essential for survival.
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