Killing one’s darlings

Or, in this case, character names. As mentioned in my previous post, I’d been using a couple in my latest work-in-progress that were a tad silly. The characters are brother and sister, and I’d called the guy Morgan, and the woman main character Melinda, shortened to Mindy, which she herself preferred/used. The only trouble is, Morgan and Mindy sound a whole heap too much like the old seventies sit-com Mork and Mindy, and when I mentioned it at the event on Friday night, everybody laughed. Which isn’t necessarily the effect I’m after.

After much head-scratching and sucking of pens, I was having problems coming up with anything I like better. And then inspiration struck. I’ve kept Morgan as Morgan. But Mindy has now transformed back to Melinda. Only her mother calls her Mindy, and I’ve made a deliberate reference to how much Melinda herself hates that, not least because it makes her and her brother sound like a couple of tv characters.

Hopefully, problem solved, without too much in the way of hard work or outright slaughter. Phew!

2 thoughts on “Killing one’s darlings

  1. Tess – I know exactly what you’re going through when it comes to names. When I write, I keep a list of my characters’ names, and always ending up changing at least some of them. Either they sound too much like other names in the story, or they’re reminiscent of famous names, or something. Sometimes you do have to kill those names…

    • Exactly. What makes it worse is that I prefer to have the names almost before I start writing, since I find the name gives me the character’s, um, character. So I was even more relieved to have solved this one without too much re-naming.

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