“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
– William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet
Juliet’s lament notwithstanding, a name does matter. If we renamed the flower formerly known as Rose a turd, it simply wouldn’t smell as sweet. Sorry. That’s the way our brains work.
In the first draft of Avalon, S.C., the black fishing guide and his wife were named Amos and Bessie (you have yet to meet her, but she’s a trip). My first draft readers immediately objected. Ginny perhaps summed it up best:
Amos & Bessie—are those a bit stereotypical, even Uncle Tom-ish, names for a black couple? If they were born before 1940, OK, but if that were the case, they’d be too old for their roles.
I concede the point without further rationalization on my part. So I need new names.
[Amos] was born in 1952, before the new wave of names for African-American babies became popular. Willie was and remains a popular name, but it was too diminutive for [Amos].
So he’s James for now. I can live with that, but I think we can do better.
SO . . . send me your suggestions. There’s no tangible prize for winning the contest, other than total bragging rights when the book comes out. But impressing your friends, “Hey, I named that character,” should be reward enough.
My sister suggested Clarissa to replace Bessie—I like that quite a bit. But when you meet her in a couple more chapters, you can take a hack at renaming her as well.
AND AN ANNOUNCEMENT: Soul Mate Publishing offered me a contract on Strange Bedfellows Thursday. That’s the novel you read in serialized chapters last year and contributed your comments to the eventual polishing and improvement of the book. I’m excited, of course, but you should be as well. Hey, if we keep doing this, eventually we’ll get good at it.