Hello. My name is Sheila and I’m a Name-a-holic. That’s right. For years I’ve been convinced the only reason I can’t write fiction is my inability to think of interesting names for my characters. So I collect names like some people collect stamps or coins or antiques. If I think about my favorite novels or short stories, I always remember the names of the characters. For example, my favorite short story of all time, How I Came to Live at the P.O. by Eudora Welty, is chock full of great names. PapaDaddy. Uncle Rondo. Stella Rondo. Mama. I could’ve written that story if I’d had those names to work with.
Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Harper Lee’s Boo Radley and Scout. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. Laurie the boy next door. Papa. Mama. Or, lest you fear I haven’t read a book in the last twenty years, Amir and his friend Hassan in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Then of course, the Texas names Sheriff Ed Tom Bell and Llewellyn Moss and the evil Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy are equally terrific.
Well, somebody slap me….I see the problem. In order to think up great character names you have to be an author with a fabulous name yourself. Eudora Welty. Mark Twain. Arthur Conan Doyle. Louisa May Alcott. Khaled Hosseini. Cormac McCarthy. Harper Lee. Sheila Rae Morris. Aha, that explains it! My name is so blah my imagination follows suit. My only hope is Margaret Mitchell.
Oh well. If I ever do get my fiction in gear, here are a few of the names you can look for in my novel: Colt Cantrell. Chance Cantrell. Charlie Cantrell. (Three Texas brothers for sure.)
My Twins Collection so far: Leon and Lon Lane. Madell and Adell Tolliver. Winnie and Minnie McCune.
If the novel includes horses, the mare’s name will be Nacho and her foals will be Frito and Dorito.
Possible heroine names: Sequoia Potter. Ethel Lorraine Wilson. Maurice Sawyer. Carolyn Briggs. Willie Joe Boaz.
Possible hero names: Cotton Lyles. Harvey Wilson. Forest J. Hutchinson. Lester “Gene” Archer. Vannoy Stewart.
As for plot to go along with this potpourri of names, I plan to start with the fact that Whitney Houston’s mother Cissy Houston was once one of Elvis Presley’s backup singers. Now, that’s a story just waiting to be told.
I’ll get right on it. I predict Mama will be one of the principal characters.