11 April 2015

J is for Jefferson

When I first began imagineering my main character, I named him James Lindsay Calhoun, which soon shortened to J. Lindsay Calhoun for a professional handle. It sounds sort of lawyer-ly, doesn't it? The James made sense since he was nicknamed Gentleman Jim by his legal colleagues. I envisioned him as excruciatingly polite in manner, while verbally destroying his opponents in court. Even in private, a foul word never passed his lips.

But later, while researching the Calhoun clan online, I came across a descendant who was known as The Black Cock of the West. Instant I can use this! moment. So I decided to lose the Gentleman Jim angle entirely. It was a little too twee anyway.

But I stuck with James, and when I started moodling his future first-born, decided on the name Jameson for junior. Until my husband pointed out that Jameson is a right- proper Irish name - not Scottish at all.

Dang. I'd have to hit the Scottish names list and come up with something else for the kid. Maybe Duncan. Except I think I named the drum horse in my prequel Duncan.

This naming stuff can get complicated.

Just recently I decided James is fairly boring. Jefferson would fit Lindsay better, now that he's showing his libertarian leanings as the story evolves. I could keep the J. Lindsay Calhoun but the Jefferson has more pow factor.

Thank goodness we have Find/Replace in word processing programs to make our lives easier, right? It'll be fairly straightforward replacing James with Jefferson as I don't really mention that name very often - just in the beginning of the story, and during scenes in which he's introduced to someone else.

I've already gone through and changed another character's name from Emily to Emma by searching "em" - and while searching for the name, discovered a few too many uses of the words "embarrass" and "emphatic".  Handy tool, that Find/Replace function.

Now I just need to come up with some good names for the county sheriff who is XX throughout the WIP, and for the mayor, who is ?? because, for some reason, they haven't really identified themselves yet.

Does that ever happen to you? How many times have you changed the name of your characters after starting the story?


Marian Allen said...

I had to change the names of more than one character in one book YEARS AFTER having finished it. I had characters named Bess and Annie and later (but before publication) married a man with daughters named Beth and Annie. Since my characters were both nutty as fruitcakes and the daughters were of ages to be embarrassed easily, the names had to change.

Dani said...

OMG, the county sheriff's name is Uriah Heep! Hahaha. How crazy is that?

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