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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Guest Blog: Vicki Batman: You Can't Name Your Hero X!

I didn’t fall into writing in the traditional way of being interested as a youngster and studied creative writing or journalism in school. A friend challenged me to try because she knew how much I wanted to. I wanted to write like Dick Francis, awesome mystery writer, but I had a slight problem as his books were centered on the horse racing business in England.

Yea, I know little about horse racing, mostly how to lose money when betting, and have never been to England.

However, I worked and worked, revised and edited, and lo and behold, my baby is about to be birthed.

I struggled with naming my hero. I’d thought of one name and then discarded because it was similar to someone I knew. I couldn’t name him Batman as that guy was already out there. He-he-he. So he became Hero X. One day, I heard over my shoulder an ad for a new television show, calling a character “Allan.” Liking it, I did a search and replace. Bye-bye Hero X. Not long later, I heard an ad for a garage door company-- “Wellborn.” I tested Allan Wellborn and liked the sound and there was the bonus of looking good on a business card. The name speaks of dependability, and Allan is well-born.

My heroine’s name was pretty easy. She was named Hattie, short for Harriette. It’s old-fashioned, but I see and hear sass in it and sass is a good thing. The dialogue between the hero and heroine is pretty sassy too. Out of the clear blue, I typed Cooks as her last name which works because Hattie always seems to be cooking up trouble. LOL

Interested in more about my cute twosome? Here’s a blurb from my romantic comedy mystery, Temporarily Employed
New Job. New Love. And Murder.

Hattie Cook's dream job is down the toilet and her new SUV violated. Desperate for cash to cover the basic necessities of rent and food, she takes a temporary job at Buy Rite Insurance Company where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee--the very one she replaced.

Detective Allan Charles Wellborn has secretly adored Hattie all his life. When the police determine there's more to the death of a former Buy Rite employee, he steps in to lead the investigation. Overly dedicated, always perfect, he puts his job first, even if doing so ultimately hurts the one he loves.

Can the killer be found before Hattie's time is up?

What are your favorite male and female names?

Like some of her characters, award-winning author, Vicki Batman has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm--the list is endless, giving her plenty of crazy material for her writing.

Writing for several years, she has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories. She is a member of RWA and several writing groups and chapters. In 2004, she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. DARA awarded her the Robin Teer Memorial Service Award in 2010. Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking "What if??"

Links for Vicki Batman
Plotting Princesses

Buy links for Temporarily Employed
Amazon ebook
Amazon paperback
The Wild Rose Press ebook
The Wild Rose Press paperback


Rose Gorham said...

Enjoyed your post, Vicki. I have a hard time matching names with my main characters because they have to be the perfect match, but not so much with my pop-up characters (characters who show up only a couple of times in my stories). The hero in my WIP is Kane Ferrell, the heroine Sam (Samantha) Holloway.

Lynda Bailey said...

Great post, Vicki.
I too struggle (sometimes) with character names. In my soon-to-be-released novella, the names are Grace and Seth. Grace was a given b/c the novella is titled GRACE, but Seth took a bit of doing. I wanted a name that lent itself to upper society without being overly pretentious. Hopefully I succeeded... ;)
Bottom line, the name has to resonate with me and with my vision for the character.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Rose! I like your names you've chosen. It's way harder.

Hi, Lynda! I agree with your line about how the name has to resonate with me and my vision.

I know there are names I won't use. And I try not to use names from other stories. I really had a hard time with my hero. Now, he's perfect...or is he?

Thanks for commenting, ladies.

Barbara Bettis said...

Goodness, Vicki, I do identify with the name problem. But Hattie--short for Harriette--is terrific. I don't think I've read of another Hattie! And Allen--my husband's middle name, so..good choice. Writing medievals, I find names can be challenging. I can like a name but it may not have been--even remotely--in use 800 years ago. Otherwise, there can be a problem if a name just doesn't work for the character. One heroine went through three names before she 'chose' one :) I'd actually written several chapters with the first name but it just didn't seem right! The heroine didn't work when she was called that. Finally after long searches through various websites we (she and I) found one that was, well, her LOL. She bloomed after that!! Best of luck with your book.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Barbara! Oh my do you have challenges with naming in medieval times. I'm glad it is you and not me.

The truth about Hattie? I just KNEW I'd have 3 daughters and name them Holland, Hayley, and Hattie. Yeah, that didn't happen. Two boys. lolol

Cara Marsi said...

Vicki, I can't wait to read Temporarily Employed. It sounds great. I find I want to use the same names over and over. Like Grace, Josh, Jake, Jessica. I could go on. I check the US Government site of popular baby names for the past 100 years to find names. I like to name my villains after old boyfriends who did me wrong. My editor caught me using the same villain name in a new book that I'd used in a previous book. Yes, it was an old boyfriend's name. I've had to retire that as a villain name. I named the heroine in one of my books Doriana after my manicurist. And I've used names of nieces and nephews for main characters.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Cara, and thank you. Have you ever written a whole story and was ready for editing when something went not that name, this one? I did, changed and felt satisfied.

Thank you, my friend.

Angela Adams said...

I never thought of "Hattie" being short for "Harriet," but I like it!

Unknown said...

I've been collecting names since I was a young girl. I'd name my diaries so it'd feel like I was talking to a friend. A couple of my own favorite character names are Reese and Gianna for the ladies and Ross and Ethan for the guys.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Angela! LOL. I heard that from long ago and kept it stored for that girl I never had.

Hi, Polly! I used Ethan in a story and love that name. Fit my character well. Nowadays, I'm having trouble finding girl names I like. Shall have to work harder. Thank you for stopping by.

Melissa Keir said...

What a clever way to name the characters. I love it! Often I use names of students in my books... Those children never are far from my mind!

Sandy said...

Excellent post, Vicki. I enjoyed learning how you matched up names to your characters. It sounds like a fun story.

Anonymous said...

The names I like for male and female characters are Victor & Maggie.
G W Pickle

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Melissa! What a great resource you have!!! I might be calling on you for ideas. lol

Hi, Sandy! Well, I write funny; so if you want funny...

Hi, G W Pickle! I haven't thought to name a character Victor, but that is close to my name; so could be a tad confusing. I have used the name Maggie who is a bestie in Temporarily Employed. Thank you for posting.

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