It is a fundamental tenet of a writer's life that one must always be writing new material. When one project is complete, it goes into the proverbial drawer for a few weeks or a month. This is to allow oneself to forget what one has written, so that after a few weeks or a month has passed, one may look at one's work with the objective eye required to evaluate the work in progress.
During this cooling-off period, one must be writing new material.
This also applies during the editing/polishing phase in which a manuscript is perfected prior to publication.
To that end, while I am polishing Book 6 of THE GO-KIDS, I am two chapters into a new science fiction novel (the title of which shall remain secret for the time being).
While making a fourth pass through Chapter 1 of this new novel, I decided to go ahead and name the two male characters featured in the scene. They stand on a street corner in Santa Monica, California, on their way back to the office after their lunch break. One of the men becomes impatient while waiting for the crosswalk computer to indicate when it is safe to cross the street.
I decided this man's name is Rory. Don't ask me why, because I don't know. My only answer is that 'Rory' was the first name which popped into my mind as I sat pondering who this person is. (The other man is Tim, though for the time being we shall focus on Rory.)
I finished proofing the chapter, sifting through the dialogue between Rory and Tim, tweaking the tense here and there as Tim regales Rory with an elaborate tail of a friend-of-a-friend who ate some bad Japanese food and had what turned out to be an expensive accident an hour later.
I then sat pondering the blank chasm that is Chapter 2, thinking, "Shit. Now what?" Then I was saved by the HooteSuite alert. So I defied all conventional writerly wisdom and checked in on HooteSuite, and then Gmail. In my inbox I found I had a new Twitter follower. I clicked on the profile in order to better gauge the merit of this person, lest he or she be a spammer, guru, or porn-vending pseudo-slut boasting nefarious links to dubious, virus-laden material unfit for public consumption.
This is what I found:
Her name is Carmen Mismit. She follows 984, has 4338 followers, but only 3 tweets, the most recent of which is what concerns us. This tweet dates all the way back to April 12, 2011. See for yourself:
|CLICK PICTURE TO ENLARGE|
I about fell out of my chair.
A mere five minutes or so had elapsed between the moment I named Rory in Chapter 1 and when I saw this tweet from CarmenMismit.
How do YOU explain it?
I explain it as confirmation from God/The Angels/The Universe that Rory is indeed the proper name.
So 'Rory' it is!
When selecting a name for a new character, I will sometimes consult my Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook, the purple edition with the blue spine, which I've had for years and which has served me well. According to said tome, 'Rory' is Gaelic for 'ruddy;' Irish for 'red;' and Teutonic for 'famous ruler.'
Often, a character name simply appears, without consulting any books, as was the case with Rory.
How do YOU choose the names for YOUR characters?