Name that character!

Sometimes the darndest things want to keep me from writing.

This week, as I continued to work on my next novel, Murder on the Lunatic Fringe, I struggled to find a name for the new sheriff in Jubilant Falls, the setting for my mystery novels.

Jubilant Falls is a small fictional Ohio town, a combination of a number of small towns were I have been the newspaper editor. I find small towns simply a treasure trove of stories and as good a setting for murder and mayhem as any metropolis.

My tried and true method is to search through Marguerite Porter Davidson’s weaving pattern book (known as The Green Book to other weavers) but for this character, it didn’t seem to work.

Many old patterns carry the names of the weavers who popularized or invented them.

In my first book, Barn Burner, one of my bad guys had the last name, Ripsmatta, which is a Swedish two-harness weave, very densely sett and sturdy, sometimes called rep weave. My bad guy was short, dense and muscular. I thought it was a good fit.

Another bad guy had the last name of Castlewheel—for you spinsters out there, (and I don’t mean older unmarried ladies), you know what kind spinning wheel I’m talking about there.

In my second book, The Major’s Wife, my hero, Marcus Henning’s rebound romance, after losing his beloved Kay, was with a young woman named Abigail Fairchild, whose name relates to a pattern for a four-harness flowery design. Abigail was young and feminine and the name seemed to fit.

For my third book, Lethal Little Lies, I found a character-naming book with names from around the globe, which I picked through liberally, putting first names together with last names.

To keep the story going in my fourth novel, Murder on the Lunatic Fringe (I’m moving closer toward killing off a major character) I found myself stumped. Right now, the name I’ve chosen is more or less a place keeper and as this minor character develops, I’ll likely change the name. But at least I’m still going… I’m still writing and I feel good about that.

What do you do to name your characters?

Come see me at Loganberry Books, in Shaker Heights, Ohio from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday July 6!

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