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January 2014

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What's in a name?

I have to change a character's name. 

Sometimes I really hate changing a character's name, especially if they're established.

Like this one minor character in a book I've been working on for a very long time and I hope to have good news about soon.  Her name was Torrance.  I thought it worked because she's very snooty and Torrance sounds snooty to me.

(My apologies to any and all Torrance's out there.)

However, it was recently brought to my attention that Torrance could be considered a boy's name and how it was confusing at first whether the main character was talking to a boy or a girl.  Really?  After all this time, I just found that out?


Okay, no problem, I thought.  I'll change it.  So I grabbed my handy baby name book that's brought on a few raised eyebrows at coffee shops and got to work.

Maggie?  I've always loved the name Maggie but it's NOT a snooty name.

Bronwen?  Maybe, but I knew a Bronwen in high school and she wasn't snooty.

Candace?  Getting close, but I already have a Claire. 

Vanessa?  Paige?  Kristyn?

No, no, no, nothing sounded right.  Torrance's character was so established in my head that it felt like I was renaming my kids.  But I had to settle for something, so I choose:


So NOT a snooty name, but I had to move on.

And now, with my current project, I have to rename another minor character, Sidney, because I'm tired of writing, "Sidney said, Sidney said, Sidney said."  At least this gal isn't as ingrained in my head.  She's kind of snooty, but more in a flippant, comical way.  So it was back to the baby name book for me.

Margot?  No, even though I truly know better, I say MarGOT in my head.

Morgan?  Nope, I know a Morgan who's very sweet and besides--even if I knew a Morgan who was snooty, I still wouldn't use it because I wouldn't want her to think that I thought she was snooty.

Elysia?  No, it's too pretty and even though this character is very pretty, I want some edge to it.

Okay, this is getting annoying.  I'm WAY overthinking things.  

I need to just pick a dang name already and get back to work.  So I'm going to shut my eyes, flip through my baby name book and point.  Whatever I land on, that's it, case closed, moving on.


Yeah, um, maybe Sidney said isn't so bad after all . . .


LOL - I know, I KNOW!!!!

I love it when the right name clicks, and it stays and you never have to think about it again. When you have to search and search and search... UGH.
Yep, I'm going back to Torrance. Everything else seems foreign so I'll just have to make it clear that she's a she.

How's this: "Sabrina, your FEMALE friend who's NOT a boy, Torrance, is on the phone."

Voila! Problem solved. :)