Special Birthday Wishes to my “little” brother, Gordon —
who also happens to be my web guru and site builder,
and who isn’t so little anymore.
Happy Birthday, Gordon!!!!!!
I spent most of the day yesterday changing the characters’ names in my current work in progress. Seems my editors didn’t really like the name I’d picked out for the hero. Said it sounded like a character from a 1980’s soap opera. Okay, maybe so. It’s actually the name of a son of a cousin’s child (don’t ask me to second- third- or X-times remove that!) and one I’ve always liked, but Ridge Blackfox can’t be Ridge anymore, so it was the great name change escapade yesterday.
I’ve put it off for too long already. My editor warned me I’d have to do this a few months ago, but I simply wasn’t ready back then. I needed to let the fact that Ridge couldn’t actually be Ridge take root in my mind. The problem is, Ridge can’t have just an ordinary everyday name, so it took some time to find one that felt like Ridge’s personality. Yesterday, I found it. Mason. Mason Blackfox. Yes, that will work for me.
But changing Ridge to Mason creates problems, you see, because as any writer knows, the names we choose for our characters are carefully balanced. Ridge and Bailey were going to work well together. They looked visually different on the page, and they sounded different, which is a huge thing. So morphing Ridge into Mason causes problems with Bailey. They still look different, but they sound too similar now.
Naturally, that required several hours of baby name book thumbing and baby name website surfing, followed by much finding and replacing (once for every different name I thought would work but didn’t actually work for some reason.)
Because the problem is, Bailey has a unique personality, and the name has to feel right. She can’t have just any name. If I had to categorize her, I’d say she’s a cross between Sandra Bullock’s character in Miss Congeniality and her character in While You Were Sleeping. Which is all great, but when I first conceived of this character, she was called Lucy — only Lucy became someone else in THE CHILDREN’S COP, so Bailey can’t be Lucy, and it took FOREVER to come up with Bailey and make that feel right… And I’ve thought about calling her Sandra, but I can’t do that because that’s my sister’s name, and the real Sandra might get all mixed up with the character and that would make Lucy/Bailey/CJ/Andi/Ronni — WHATSHERNAME — into a completely different person, and that would change the story completely.
The good news is, if she’s not Bailey, then one of the secondary characters who was Billy but couldn’t be Billy because of Bailey can now be Billy again.
I wonder if editors have any idea that changing a character’s name is such torture.