Death, Mayhem and Family Pets

Posted on 24/08/2011 by

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This whole naming-the-characters in Wizards is turning out entirely weird. It’s not normally this hard. Generally my characters just tell me what their names are. Or jump up and down and point when I look at a list of names. In this case… I don’t know, maybe they’ve forgotten their own names cause they’re drunk. Rick forgot which one our house was when he was drunk once…

Then again… maybe they’re just speaking through other people. April (who apparently has psychic powers) totally guessed the name I’d already given to one of the characters. And I’ve had a startling number of votes for the name I was trying not to call the wizard. So I don’t know, maybe I should just give up on that front?

In the meantime when I got her email at around 4am and was thus thinking about names I noticed that lately ‘April’ has become associated in my head with the person and I get confused when people use it like a month.

This is the trouble with thing names. They’re confusing, even when they’re nice. April is nice. And there are a few others I like. But mostly thing names are weird. And sometimes terrible. I had heaps of friends in Zimbabwe who had totally awful thing names like Chastity, Prudence, Remembrance and Be-faithful. That’s like calling someone Avatar or Blogosphere. You wouldn’t call your kid Blogosphere. Well, okay, you could. But don’t.

And while one of the cool things about being an author is you get the chance to name people all kinds of things that you’d never want to force on an actual child, or even a pet, I tend to draw the line at thing names. Unless I deliberately want to be mean to the character for some reason. Which, let’s face it, sometimes I do.

And then my head goes to this place:

Me: We used to have a fish called Tiggers-Don’t-Climb-Trees. My sister named it. We’d have like thirty fish, and we used to name them, but we’d get bored before we finished so we’d only name three or four of them at a time. And then they’d die. But Tiggers-Don’t-Climb-Trees lived a really long time. For a fish. He had stripes. And whiskers. I like fish with whiskers. And Mexican Fighting Fish. But all the ones we had died really fast. Hey, can we have a Mexican Fighting Fish in a jar? Apparently they live longer in jars. Less stressful.Crowntail Beta Siamese Fighting Fish
Rick: Yeah, also, not on top of televisions.
Me: Why?
Rick: Heat rises.
Me: Ah! Yes. And they boil. We used to boil our fish. We mostly had tropical fish and the thermostat was a bit wacky. We went away one time and the water boiled and the fish tried to jump out of it and fried themselves on the light. (Pause.) I’ve got good stories.
Rick: You have a funny definition of what constitutes a good story.
Me: Hey, when you’re seven that’s a GREAT story. It’s totally morbid; it’s got death, mayhem and family pets.

So I don’t know, I shouldn’t write for children? And also, apparently, I need to, you know, sleep and be less crazy. Well, sleep anyway.