Monday, September 14, 2009

Naming the Character: A Dialogue

Me to As-Yet-Un-Named-Character: Hi Character. What's your name?

As-Yet-Un-Named-Character: Ivy.

Me: Are you sure?

Ivy: Absolutely. Look at me. Don't I look like an Ivy to you?

Me (staring at blank page): What do you look like?

Ivy: Well, my eyes are the color of the Blue Ridge in the morning. You know, when the mist is rising. And my hair is the color of a brand new wheat penny. And I'm a mountain girl, so what would have been an English rosy kind of complexion has gone a little ruddy because I'm out in the sun a lot. So I look like an Ivy, right?

Me: Sure, fine. Ivy Lyda. That's what I'll call you.

Ivy Lyda: I don't like it. I'm not a Lyda. My people were not Lydas. Try again.

Me: I'm the author. I'm going with Lyda. It rolls off the tongue.

Ivy Lyda: Yeah, a lot like a gag reflex. I'm going to tend to my sick neighbors. When you get a better name for me, you let me know.

(Walks away)

Me (whining): But I like Ivy Lyda.

Ivy Lyda(turns around): Did I mention my grandmother was Cherokee?

(Leaves for real this time)

Me (after feverishly researching Cherokee names all day): How about Yona? It means Bear. Better?

Ivy Lyda/Yona: You want to call me Bear? Seriously? I think that violates some unspoken law of romantic heroine naming.

Me: No, I don't want to call you "Bear." I want to call you "Yona."

Ivy Lyda/Yona: I want to call you some things too, but they aren't fit for print.

(Walks away a second time)

Me (calling after her): What about Anna? I could call you Anna most of the time. It sounds a little like Yona. Is that any better?

Ivy Lyda/Yona/Anna: It's better. But I'm not an Anna.

Me (ignoring her): I'm thinking Anna Bayless. That sounds good, doesn't it?

Ivy Lyda/Yona/Anna Bayless: Are you even paying attention? Annas are dark-haired and unflappable. I am a firey, bullheaded strawberry blond. People like me are not named Anna.

Me: But Anna sounds so good together with John Emerson.

Ivy Lyda/Yona/Anna Bayless: Is that my love interest's name? He sounds dull as dishwater.

Me: He's not dull! He's a dashing doctor from Boston. Tall, dark, and handsome. He's just a little aloof.

Ivy Lyda/Yona/Anna Bayless: If you think for a minute I'm going to simper and fawn all over some arrogant idiot with a boring name, you've got another thing coming, Brittany! I refuse to be party to it! I have a mind to go be protagonist in somebody else's book! Maybe one where I'm a mail order bride and go out west to marry a rancher named Rusty Calhoun. He sounds interesting.

Me: Oh fine. How about Garren?

Ivy Lyda/Yona/Anna Bayless/Garren: Oh, come on! That's worse than Bear.

Me: You don't like Ivy Garren?

Ivy Lyda/Yona/Anna Bayless/Garren/Ivy Garren: Oh, wait a minute. That's much better. And see! I told you my name was Ivy.


  1. i see your characters are as unruly as mine!

    i like ivy garren. yona was too close to yoni...unless she's a sexy mid wife, uhn-uhn.

    a secondary character in my book started as missy, eventually became misty, something else and is now kelsey. she really is a kelsy, but i had to consult my son k about it. he was like, 'she totally sounds like a kelsey to me!' i resisted, but then, in the end, she really was a kelsey. and told me so with something along the lines of 'after 6 years, it's about time you got it right!'

  2. i saw this on your facebook yesterday and it cracked me up. i needed that laugh. i like ivy garren too. :-)

  3. Glad it amused you guys. I told you I heard voices. LOL :-)


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